I would love it if someone could explain British punctuation to me; emails, which I have written about before in noting that they contain hardly any punctuation where I expect there to be some:
Happy New Year
(content of the note) blah blah blah
My response would look likely look more like this:
Happy New Year to you too!
(content of the response) blah blah blah.
Although it’s perhaps not a fair comparison, as my American email would more likely read
Roger–Happy new year! blah, blah, blah, Best regards, Martha
thus saving space in cyberspace and doing away with letter-style formality for a quick note.
In contrast to emails, British headlines seem to me to have waaaaaay too much punctuation. Example headlines from the BBC today:
- Sea rescue beacons ‘a priority’
- China ‘to act over jail deaths’
- Economy ‘no longer in free fall’
- Cancer brake ‘could halt disease’
- Teachers ‘script GCSE oral exams’
- ‘Green Nobel’ for forest champion
The only top stories headline on Yahoo! news that used quotes was referring to a movie, otherwise the headlines were quote-free:
- Efron turns ’17 Again’ into No. 1 hit with $24M
- Police plan to charge driver in fatal accident
- Diabetes? Some beat it, but are they cured?
- US boycotting, Iran starring, at UN racism meeting
- Exxon Mobil overtakes Wal-Mart to top Fortune 500
- Chavez’s gift to Obama swiftly becomes best-seller
- Yao has 24 points, Rockets beat Blazers 108-81
Now I buy books in both countries and have learned to read them without noticing the single-versus-double quote anomaly, but this one has me perplexed. Lots of quotes in headlines, no punctuation in emails… anyone???