Snails & Monkey Tails: A Visual Guide to Punctuation & Symbols (Hardcover)

Snails & Monkey Tails: A Visual Guide to Punctuation & Symbols By Michael Arndt Cover Image

Snails & Monkey Tails: A Visual Guide to Punctuation & Symbols (Hardcover)


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"There are countless books that can teach you the alphabet, but almost none that focus on the tiny designs that run interference among the letterforms: those easily overlooked punctuation and typographic symbols. These symbols, as Michael Arndt proves in this beautiful and endlessly fascinating book, are absolutely indispensable to communication: punctuation turns words into sentences and language into meaning... From commas to semicolons, from slashes to asterisks, from guillemets to octothorpes (named, perhaps, after athlete Jim Thorpe), you’ll never look at punctuation the same way again."—Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram

In this show-stopping guide with more than 75 uniquely designed two-color spreads—a rollicking linguistic ride for fans of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Just My Type—award-winning graphic designer Michael Arndt explores the typographic origins, names, and shapes of both common punctuation marks and symbols, as well as the proper and diverse usage of each.

From the period to the question mark, the semicolon to the em dash, symbols and marks are an integral part of language. In graphically engaging spreads that utilize typography in an innovative way, Snails & Monkey Tails examines the evolution of these mighty linguistic tools—from the punctum, or point, created by an ancient scribe to the guillemet, used most commonly in lieu of quote marks by the French (and named in honor of a typographer Guillaume Le Bé). With verve and insight, Michael Arndt explains their proper usage and how they came to be universally accepted today. 

Snails & Monkey Tails—Snails (@); Monkey Tails (&)—is packed with intriguing facts, history, stories, and lore, as well as grammar, explaining it clearly and with examples. What is the purpose of the comma—perhaps the most used symbol in the English language—and what are the proper uses of the asterisk? Do quote marks go inside or outside punctuation? What about a quote within a quote—a quote from someone quoting someone else? How much space goes on either side of an ellipsis? What’s the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash? 

Complete with a listing of useful terms and clear diagrams for creating typographical marks and symbols correctly on both PC and Apple computers, Snails & Monkey Tails is essential for bibliophiles, writers, grammarians, graphic designers, typography enthusiasts, logophiles, and anyone with a passion for the written word. 

Product Details ISBN: 9780063061248
ISBN-10: 0063061244
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2022
Pages: 160
Language: English

"This is one of those books that you don't know you need until you have it. Everyone should go out and buy this book. It was so informative and will really help my writing as well as my understanding of certain symbols. I'm an English major and I've learned more about punctuation and symbols from this book than I did in college." — @Bearyintobooks, Goodreads Reviewer