Punctuation Marks, Ranked

It's National Punctuation Day, a day for prescriptivists and schoolmarms to lord their shibboleths over everyone else, as opposed to every other day of the year, when everyone is very mellow and forgiving and aware that correct ("correct") use of punctuation is contingent and arbitrary—that it is often a weapon for enforcing social status distinctions rather than a tool for fostering understanding. Here are punctuation marks, ranked in order of their quality and value.

1 . period

2   space

3 ! exclamation point

4 ; semicolon

5em dash

6 " " double quotation marks

7 ' apostrophe

8 ? question mark

9 , comma

10 - hyphen

11 : colon

12en dash

13 ( open parenthesis

14 ... ellipsis

15 ) close parenthesis

16 ' ' single quotation marks

17 ] close bracket

18 [ open bracket

[Image by Jim Cooke, photo via Shutterstock]