Some nice Twainisms in David Crystal’s Guardian article about his new book Making a Point: the pernickety story of English punctuation.
Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer’s proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me; I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray.
I give it up. These printers pay no attention to my punctuation, Nine-tenths of the labor & vexation put upon me by Messrs Spottiswoode & Co consists in annihilating their ignorant & purposeless punctuation & restoring my own.
This latest batch, beginning with page 145 & running to page 192 starts out like all that went before it – with my punctuation ignored & their insanities substituted for it. I have read two pages of it – I can’t stand any more. If they will restore my punctuation themselves & then send the purified pages to me I will read it for errors of grammar & construction – that is enough to require of an author who writes as legible a hand as I do, & who knows more about punctuation in two minutes than any damned bastard of a proof-reader can learn in two centuries.