Prompted by this article in the New Yorker (which I’ve just happened across), I’ve been giving some thought to my use of grammar and punctuation on this here site.
(side note: I still jar when describing this site as a “blog”, odd that)
Comma usage, ellipsis (ellipsi?), italics, bold, capitals, the odd semi-colon, and the even rarer colon have all featured here. Did anyone notice that for a while after reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves my usage punctuation was much wider than normal? And that, more to the point, it has dwindled back to it’s normal state since then.
Anyway, here’s the thing. Hyperlinks. Are they, should they, can they, be considered punctuation?
For example, when I mentioned Eats, Shoots and Leaves should I have distinguished it somehow? Is “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” correct or will Eats, Shoots and Leaves suffice, or is Eats, Shoots and Leaves a valid use of the markup and grammar available to us.
Can the hyperlink serve as a form of punctuation? Is this a valid part of the evolution of language?
Of course I have a vested interest in this, being a technical writer for a living, but I’m interested in what you guys think. The masses (cultured of course), the proles, the everyday writer.
Postscript: the New Yorker article linked above nails this book precisely. Lynne Truss taps into that sense of outrage and disbelief that some of us feel when staring at public signage that is badly punctuated, and openly admits to ignoring and abusing some of the rules of grammar. I was once told that the rules of the English language were the strictest set of rules in the world, and it was only their steadfast resolve that allowed them to be bent, twisted and skewed so often by so many.
Next question: One space or two?