The lowly period

Those who care have been spending a bunch of time arguing whether certain grammatical bits of English are going out of style. Sometimes they’re all self-righteous, other times they are just curious. Endangered grammar/punctuation include the word “whom,” the apostrophe, the hyphen, and now, the period.

We all know that U.K. and the U.S. are abbreviated as an adjective and are written out as nouns. (That’s the free bit of info here.) But do you know that the EU has no periods? It’s a newly created entity, so to speak. Does that mean that we’re moving toward a shorter, more concise punctuation system? Will it be all website, underperform, email, all the time?

What do you think?


PS Someone posted to one of my listservs “the benefits of eliminating widows and orphans” and I laughed out loud in the library. Serves me right for checking my email instead of working.



6 responses to “The lowly period

  1. “But do you know that the EU has no periods?”

    Hang. On.

    Mine are still coming along every month and last time I checked England was in the EU???

    Please clarify.

  2. My husband and I have an ongoing “discussion” about what I find an abuse of the english languauge and his challenge that it is a living, breathing organism. (Please disregard my blatant abuse of the language as a counter to my argument. Hopefully it only extends to comments, blog posts and e-mails.)
    Now this is a man whose dream was to get the unabridged OED. When he opened box after box on a long ago Christmas, he was near tears.
    So now that I’m off-topic anyway, if you haven’t, you should read The Professor and The Madman about the remarkable creation of the OED and the creation of words.

    • I have to side with your husband here, sorry. Even though I’m a copyeditor, I am in favor of change. Language doesn’t stay the same. However, some of the change will suck, I’ll acknowledge that. (You’d think the woman who married her young man solely for his online access to the OED would make me able to use words other than suck.)

      I will read it, thanks!

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