Miscellany № 73: per Churchill et commata

It’s easy to overlook the importance of empty space as a form of punctuation. Certainly, I’m guilty of giving pride of place to visible marks such as the pilcrow (¶) and interrobang (‽). But this isn’t to ignore the groundbreaking invention of the word space in the medieval period; the disappearance of the pilcrow to create the paragraph indent; or, most recently, the use of variable-length spaces as pauses in Patrick Stewart’s 2015 PhD thesis. Also recently, I was encouraged to look again at the subject of whitespace-as-punctuation by a visit to the Science Museum here in London.

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Maximal meaning in minimal space: the history of punctuation

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Miscellany № 26

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A quiet week! Where has all the punctuation news gone? If you have any tips as to something you’d like to see featured here, please get in touch.


The first of today’s abbreviated items is a tasty punctuational treat: photographer Emily Blincoe’s juxtapositions of complimentary foodstuffs at THIS & THAT, her Tumblr blog, are a feast for the eyes. Each of her pairings — pork & beans, cookies & cream, burger & fries, and many more — is lovingly composed with an edible ampersand at its heart. I thought my love for bacon could ascend no higher, but after seeing Emily’s eggs & bacon, I may have to revise my opinion.

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