ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Some Punctuation Marks Came About

Updated on June 19, 2015
Source

The origins of some of today’s punctuation marks can be rooted to ancient Greece and Rome. Here are some interesting facts about how some punctuation marks started and became what they are today.

Quotation marks started out in ancient tests as lips but turned on their sides. Writers of those times wanted a way to show when the words they were writing were spoken by another person so they came up with two curved marks to denote the lips of the person speaking. The first lip was positioned at the beginning of the quote while the second was placed at the end. Eventually, they became the tiny set of double lips which are now the quotation marks used today.

Question marks trace its roots in ancient Rome as the Latin word quaestio meaning “question.” This word was inserted when asking questions in their text. As time went on, the word was shortened to Qo then Q with a period beneath the letter. However, the Roman letter Q was similar to the Arabic numeral 2, which became the question mark symbol today.

Improving Punctuation

The exclamation point has its origin in ancient Greece. IO was an ancient Greek word showing excitement similar to the word wow. And so to show excitement, Greek writers placed the word IO within the text that shows they are excited. As time went by, the scholars replaced the o with a dot until the dot came to rest below the I which is what the symbol looks like today.

Just like the exclamation point, the period came from the ancient Greek word komma meaning “a little knife” or “to cut off.” Writers positioned the symbol when showing a clause of phrase or a group of words separated from the body of a sentence.

Kinds of Punctuation

1. Tone Marks

These symbols came first and were designed to use in writing to be read aloud.

Declarative (. , ;)

Interrogatory(?)

Exclamatory (!)

Parenthesis ()

Elaborative (:)

Quotation (“”)

2. Refinements

These were developed later and were designed for writing and silent reading

Brackets (}

Capital Letters

Paragraphs

Indentions

Ellipsis (. . .)

Dash (-)

Apostrophes and hyphens are practically additional letters. They are integrated in the spelling system and are not punctuation marks.

In Greek writing, the semicolon stands for a question mark and a raised dot represents a semi colon. In Spanish writing, the inverted exclamation mark and question mark is placed at the beginning at the beginning of a sentence.

Learning of a bit of the background of some punctuation marks matter because from them we get to educate ourselves about how long punctuation and writing has gone through the years.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)