Greet Yourself

Detailed description below. Since September, the nights have been getting longer, swallowing up more and more daylight. Thankfully, though, we’ve nearly made it! The winter solstice on 21 December will see the longest night of the year. After that, the days will be getting longer again, and the nights shorter, and lo and behold, spring, […]


Detailed dscription below poster. Two faces doesn’t always mean two-faced: in ancient Rome, the god Janus sported one head with two faces, one looking backwards, the other forwards. This double-posture was a symbol of transitions, passages, beginnings and endings, frames, changes, and gates. That’s why, people would put an image or little figurine of the […]

Exclamation Point, Exclamation Mark – Potato Potato?

Exclamation Point, Exclamation Mark – Potato Potato? What’s in a name? Juliet asks, continuing that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. I’m quoting from memory, but that’s the general drift: the essence of the thing is not in the name; the name is random; it’s just an accidentally assigned sound signifying […]

Spooky Punctuatiooooooon!

spooooky punctuatiooooon! Today is the 31st of October, so it’s that very special time of year. It’s been a beautifully mellow yellow autumn day over here; I’ve been working away in my garden; those floating little insects dancing up and down in the slanting rays of the afternoon sun; my doggo carefully watching the fence, […]

! in titles

shouty titles!!! What’s the easiest way to get attention? Slab a ! at the end of your words. Preferably more!!!  That’s at least what some of the exclamation mark detractors say, but that’s, of course, not the whole story. Not even close. In my book, I explore how we can look at punctuation when we’re […]

Ready for Rish? How ! can get you the job. Or not.

Ready for rish? How ! can get you the job. or not. Three Prime Ministers within three months (two months, really). The UK is burning through politicians like a chainsmoker through free cigarettes. Candidates just keep coming like lemmings, voluntarily throwing themselves off the cliff into and out of the revolving doors at Number 10. […]

Is this the worst? Well, it’s certainly great semicolon use!

Is this the worst? Well, it’s certainly great semicolon use! Shakespeare’s infamously hopeless tragedy King Lear has lots of great lines when we are shocked and grieved by the incompetence of those supposed to lead us: in the play, hunger for power, greed for gold, personal revenge, and sheer malice and cruelty motivate kings, queens, and […]

Of Faces and Fonts

of faces and fonts I gave a paper yesterday at Geneva University where I did a postdoc on Shakespeare in seventeenth-century Germany. I spoke about the history of punctuation, how people invented signs such as the semi-colon and of course my brackets in the fifteenth century, what the prescriptions and descriptions of use were, followed […]

Hyphen Confusion – Or Should That Be Hyphen-Confusion?

Hyphen Confusion (or should that be ‘hyphen-confusion’?) Double-barelled names are becoming more and more current as society gets used to women not changing their last names upon getting married, but double-barelling it with their husband’s (sometimes, rarely, joined by those very husbands!), or passing their maiden name on to their double-barelled children. Not even speaking of […]

Signs of Resistance: Punctuation Politics in Nineteenth-Century Arabic

Signs of Resistance: punctuation politics in nineteenth-century arabic I recently introduced myself to an online editor as ‘a researcher of English literature in the UK, working on punctuation. Originally, this was a project on brackets in Renaissance writing, but I’ve been sucked into so many rabbit hole vortices of curious punctuation that I guess I […]