Home Today Is The # Symbol Is Actually An Octothorpe! And You Thought It Was...

The # Symbol Is Actually An Octothorpe! And You Thought It Was Only A Hashtag!

A period, a comma, a semicolon, a question mark and an exclamation point are examples of some of the punctuation used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning.   National Punctuation Day commemorates these and all punctuation annually on September 24th.
Across the country, National Punctuation Day events test skill, educate and even poke fun at some of those embarrassing errors.  Jeff Rubin founded National Punctuation Day in 2004 as a way to promote the correct usage of punctuation.
  • The founder of National Punctuation Day sends out a challenge every year.
  • FontFeed credits National Punctuation Day with the revival of the interrobang.
  • Auburn Elementary School of Auburn, MI celebrates National Punctuation Day annually.

Punctuation Day is celebrated in a lot of different ways, including through celebrations in schools with video and programs to help learn to use it properly in fun and interactive ways. However, the Punctuation Day website has their own list of ways to celebrate this auspicious holiday. It starts with sleeping in late and enjoying a long hot shower or bath, picking up a bagel, and starting your day off by circling all the punctuation errors you find in the newspaper. The rest of the day is spent finding all the places that grammar isn’t used properly, and making a polite note on how to correct them. Punctuation Day gives you the excuse you need to stop gritting your teeth and start spreading a little education!

1. A question mark used to be a word

In Latin, when they wrote a query, they’d finish it with the word “questio” (which contrary to how it sounds, isn’t a spell in a Harry Potter book). Later, they abbreviated it “qo,” but because of the tendency to read it as the ending of a word, they put both in a single space, with the lowercase Q on top of the lowercase O. As time went on, people made the Q a tailed loop and the O a dot to save time.

2. An @ by any other name still works on Twitter

Faith Based Events

We call it an “at symbol” or “at mark,” but in the Netherlands, they call it (their word for) a monkey’s tail. In Israel, it’s a strudel. In Russia, it’s a little dog. In Italy, it’s a small snail. But English speakers aren’t the only ones who don’t have a cool animal-related name for it. In Bosnia, it’s aptly called the crazy A.

3. WTF?!

For some deranged reason, they got rid of one of the most useful symbols ever created: the interrobang. It’s even fun to say. It’s a question mark superimposed over an exclamation point, which on a modern keyboard is typed either ?! or !?. Obviously, it’s intended to represent a question asked excitedly. You can’t beat a punctuation mark that’s simultaneously a portmanteau and onomatopoeia. If you agree, go like the interrobang Facebook page.

4. #Notahashtag

Everyone knows the # symbol is short code for number, but if you asked people these days, they would say hashtag. Those irritating voice-hell operators call them pound signs when you have to press it after you enter your account number. Actually, it’s called an octothorpe.


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