There’s nothing that shows the evolving nature of the written word more than the fast-paced changes in punctuation conventions.

This week, Associated Press announced that it was dropping the hyphen in ‘e-mail’. Its style guide now recommends ’email’, which just about everybody else has been using for years, as discussed in the Mind Your Language blog. Keep up grandads!

The Shady Characters punctuation blog (thanks Pete!) introduced me to the history of the interrobang, a new punctuation mark created by ad agencies in the America in the early sixties. It aimed to convey the surprised/rhetorical question, where usually we’d use both a question mark and an exclamation mark. This image from the blog shows some proposed designs:

I wonder why it never took off. And why do our punctuation marks look like they do? I shall investigate and report back…