As I was putting the finishing touches on my last post, '50 Years Later, Paris' I'd just begun reading a book that sounded intriguing somehow, 'Between You & Me, Confessions of a Comma Queen' , by Mary Norris, a copy editor for The New Yorker magazine. I was attracted to it because commas have always been a mystery to me, not helped by the fact that a friend, Bill Moore, a poet and poetry journal publisher, commented once on the dearth of commas in my writing. He said I needed more and...
I think you've just sold me another book (although I'm married to someone who has been accused—by me—of causing a world comma shortage). I think Mary Norris is nudging us all to the place I've arrived at: the two purposes of punctuation are clarity of intent, and to indicate emphasis for speaking. If the ancient rules don't accomplish that, and sometimes they don't, toss 'em! As for me, I'm addicted to em dashes...hangover of my typographic career.
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