Peculiarities of Punctuation

Mere Inkling Press

I question how we can ever secure world peace, when we can’t even
agree on how to punctuate. And this is not only an international controversy—although
it certainly possesses intercontinental ramifications.

Writers who have submitted their work to editors know exactly what
I’m talking about. The world abounds with critics who are positive they know
how to “fix” your manuscript, so you can more effectively communicate what you
are trying to say.

A fine example of this is found in the case of Samuel Clemons. As I described several years ago, Mark Twain considered editors to be a plague. He sums up his irritation in a letter to a friend.

I give it up. These printers pay no attention to my punctuation. Nine-tenths of the labor & vexation put upon me by [them] consists in annihilating their ignorant & purposeless punctuation & restoring my own. This latest batch [also has]…

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