Punctuation marks

Good writing involves obsessing over punctuation marks.

Says this piece and goes on to list the 5 best punctuation marks (of which I knew only Primo Levi’s period). Via. The one I liked best in the list is the colon of Dickens:

4. The colon in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

“Marley was dead: to begin with.”

That is the opening line of A Christmas Carol, although it is less like an opening than like a train car immediately running into another train car. The sentence would be unremarkable if it read, “Marley was dead, to begin with.” The colon would be unremarkable if the sentence read “To begin with: Marley was dead.” But as written, this sentence is insane, or anyway destined to foment insanity in the grammatically prissy. It has death, a dangling participle, and a wonderfully garrulous narrator with some kind of unmentionable Victorian-era disease: wandering colon. It is great.

I agree; the others are close competitors. Take a look.

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