After I posted “Happy Punctuation Day” I came across a terrific visual example in the NYTimes Book Review. We have the question mark, something headline writers avoid at all costs; an exclamation point, see yesterday’s post; and the hashtag.
The Time piece mentioned the debate over whether # is a punctuation mark. I’d say as a Twitter meme-ette it’s not, but as a substitute for a number sign or a shorthand for pounds (the weight, not the Brit money), then yes it is. In those contexts “#” serves the same purpose as an apostrophe (that mark in its dotage), replaces “of” followed by a noun, or the letter “o” in a negative contraction.