On National Punctuation Day, “Illegal Immigrant” and Social Media Best Practices

Photo Credit: “Punctuation Cookies For National Punctuation Day” by David Erickson on Flickr. Used under a CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

The language community in the U.S. was abuzz with celebration as it observed National Punctuation Day last September 24. Here’s a rundown of our favorite posts honoring the annual celebration of marks. Also in this week’s line-up: tips to get new writers warmed up, The New York Times’ stand on “illegal immigrant” and the apparent misuse of “apparently.”


Writers’ Favorite Punctuation Marks

The Atlantic Wire collected “punctuation favorites from a few of our favorite writers and word-minded folks around the web.” Which punctuation mark is your favorite and why?

Punctuation Soup

“Where would [we] be without those little dots, dashes, and squiggly lines?” Wordnik honored National Punctuation Day with the history of their eight favorite marks.

Questioningly Results: Mark It Day

On September 21, The New Yorker’s Questioningly challenged readers to mash-up two punctuation marks to create a new mark. The winner is a mark that’s supposed to be used after “a question that the writer doesn’t really want answered”: the backsquash.


The Trouble with Intentions

Verlyn Klinkenborg gives light on the intentions of a writer, arguing that while a writer may be hitting all the core rules of grammar and usage, he or she may not be aware of what his or her sentences actually say.

Pace Is Crucial

The pace in a written material is crucial, both in keeping the interest of the readers and in the development of the piece.

Tests and Composition Exercises for Young Writers — Ezra Pound

Biblioklept shares Ezra Pound’s tips for young, budding writers. Here, Pound’s checklist reiterates the importance of peer assessment and eschewing from ambiguous words.

Words and Usage

The New York Times Explains Why It Still Uses “Illegal Immigrant

Filipino-American journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, founder of immigration-awareness campaign Define American, says using “illegal” to describe an immigrant is “legally inaccurate” and asks news organizations to stop using the term. Poynter gets the side of The New York Times, one of Vargas’s targets.

Apparently Not

Same as with “literally” (bonus infographic here), “apparent” is often tagged with a different meaning than intended. However, “as many a journalism professor has noted, ‘apparent heart attacks’ can’t kill; only real heart attacks can kill.” (emphasis on original)

Green on Blue, Unboxing, and Brass: On the Radar in September 2012

Oxford Dictionaries discusses the origin of “green on a blue,” a military idiom and lists other words of interest from this month’s news stories.

Social Media

Best Practices

Poynter posts tips on how to make Twitter work for young journalists, while Read Write Web releases the third installment of its series on how journalists are using social media. Last week, Twitter published best practices for journalists on its blog.

We at Project Chiron aim to encourage the use of social media for knowledge exchange and skills development. We’re not necessarily about current events; we are about relevance, credibility and innovation. With millions of content spread and shared through social media networks every day, we want to help you see what’s important so you won’t have to sweep through all your news feeds and tweets. Our weekly roundups are curated by Dan Dupale and Mina Jesuitas and edited by Kim Palanca and Paulo Formantes. 
Comments, corrections, questions and suggestions are welcome.


  1. Just discovered this site. Good job on curating these articles, Project Chiron!

    Teeny correction, though: the apostrophe on “The New York Time’s” should be after the s. 🙂


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