I saw this infographic on Facebook and I’m sharing it here in case you find it useful. It’s good – but not that good, as explained in my critique below the image.Punctuation Marks

Infographics are growing in popularity. It simply means ‘information presented in a graphical form’. They are useful because the Internet is increasingly visual.

Most infographics are portrait format – that is, long and thin – rather than landscape format like this one. That’s because it looks better on image-sharing platforms such as Pinterest which have long, narrow columns.

If I’d produced this one, I might omit the full stop after the heading. It’s not necessary, because it’s not a sentence (so it’s breaking the rule). Apart from that (depending what font you choose) full stops in headings look like footballs.


Obscure punctuation mark used to express surprise combined with a question, usually written as ?!

I would quibble about the number 15 in the sub-heading. There are many more punctuation marks than that, including my favourite – the interrobang – shown right. A more accurate sub-heading would therefore refer to the 15 ‘most common’ punctuation marks.

I wouldn’t use Initial Capitals In The Heading. That’s called ‘camel case’ (to my delight, I recently learned that’s its name, because the upper edge of the words goes up and down). It’s a stylistic thing. I’ve seen US research that claims Headings That Use Initial Capitals get more readers, but I haven’t seen the same results here in the UK.

Besides that, I wouldn’t write ‘how hard they should be to learn’. I don’t think any punctuation mark should be hard to learn. Better to write ‘might be hard to learn’.

Picky, moi?

The first mark is called ‘Period’ which indicates the infographic is of US origin. On this side of the pond we call it a ‘Full Stop’ because the sentence runs to a complete, er, stop.

A little tip about dashes. The en-dash is so called because it’s the width of a letter n, and the em-dash is named after the width of an m. Fascinating, huh?

I was taught you put a comma to show where you’d take a breath if reading out loud. These days, I wouldn’t put one after i.e. and e.g. although I would put one after ‘For example’.

And finally, are we sure the comma is the hardest punctuation mark to learn? I would have thought the hardest is the commonly mis-used apostrophe. In fact, apostrophe errors are so common that I’ve dedicated a whole blog to correcting them. You’ll find it at kingell.wordpress.com.

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