Achilleas Kostoulas

Applied Linguistics & Language Teacher Education


I was delighted to receive, a few days ago, a copy of Punctuation..?, a short reference book published by User Design.

Unlike more cumbersome style guides, Punctuation..? is quite concise: it spans 35 A5-size pages. These contain 21 sections, focusing on different punctuation marks, such as ‘square brackets’ or ‘semi colon’. Each section describes the use of a punctuation mark, and there’s also discussion of common usage errors (e.g. the infamous its//it’s distinction), and occasional comparisons to subtle differences in the usage of other languages.

User_design_Books_Punctuation_p34_35On the whole, I found the booklet useful and easy to use. The descriptions in each section are accurate, written in simple language and complemented by amusing illustrations that can help to reinforce recall. Despite its small size, the book is reasonably comprehensive, and I found a lot of information that was new to me: for instance, do you know what a pilcrow or guillemets are?

To be clear, this is not a hefty volume, nor should it be compared against publications such as the Chicago Manual of Style. But to me, the simplicity of the booklet is its most appealing feature.  I think that it can be a useful resource for language learners, and I would definitely recommend it for self-study or a self-access centre.



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