New Punctuation

Tim Bray writes about the new punctuation — using *stars* around important words. It’s ASCII boldfacing. I started doing this in email about 6 months ago, totally unconsciously.


Alan's picture
Alan on March 28, 2003 - 18:24 Permalink

Are bolding, italicizing and underlining acutally punctuation or mere font play? In a former firm, I noted — to a chilly response of partners in the habit — that use of these tools in a legal brief for highlighting was bad grammer and indicated a poor grasp of written english. I think if you have not make your point firmly with your words, adding font tricks shows a failure to fully edit your words for clarity. The only one I do see having a valid use is italicizing for stress in direct quotations such as the spoken text of a play. What do you think? [I tried to use “sparkle text” to enforce my last question but have been barred…with good reason.]

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on March 28, 2003 - 19:38 Permalink

I’ve been doing *this* for years…

Alan's picture
Alan on March 28, 2003 - 20:43 Permalink

You know, I have been saying “@#)&$)#%” for years…but that is different.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on March 28, 2003 - 20:59 Permalink


Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on March 28, 2003 - 23:44 Permalink


Cameraguy's picture
Cameraguy on March 29, 2003 - 02:13 Permalink

Alan, if you had a good grasp of the English language, and were able to write good grammar, you wouldn’t need those “quotation marks” around *sparkle text*

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on March 30, 2003 - 02:10 Permalink

I think you may be right, Alan, about italics, etc., in a legal brief, or other such formal document, because such things are meant to be *read*. Because of the formality of these types of things, the words need to convey their meanings. There can be no misinterpretations or implications of meaning. However, in missives such as the ones found on this site, and in more informal situations, typewritten messages are more verbal, in that they are meant to be *heard* (in the mind’s ear). Therefore, any help that italics, quotation marks, and *any* other indicators provide to imply variances in speech or tone, are greatly beneficial.

Alan's picture
Alan on March 31, 2003 - 14:32 Permalink

That is true, Rob, there is a big difference between formal and informal writing and, CG, whenever I write about grammer I think that mine in the post no doubt includes 27 frig ups. But…why do the indicators of “speech or tone” — factors in spoken speech need to come into play in written text?