I find this fascinating, along with all the evolving changes in English colloquial daily changes.
In this special guest post, Ana Sampson offers some little-known facts about punctuation marks, to mark the publication of Caroline Taggart’s new book, The Accidental Apostrophe: … And Other Misadventures in Punctuation
Did you know
1. The Victorians were crazy about hyphens?
Jane Austen’s nephew Edward Austen Leigh, composing a biography of his aunt in the 1860s, had occasion to mention the joys of spring in the country, including early primroses, anemones and the first bird’s-nest. That hyphen makes it absolutely clear that he means the first nest (of the season) belonging to a bird, rather than a nest belonging to the first bird. A bit over-precise by today’s standards, you might think.
2. Charles Dickens could work six semi-colons into a single sentence?
It’s right at the beginning of Great Expectations, and it’s a masterpiece:
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