Just Your TypeType, design, writing and other funny stuff
See that? I haven’t written a thing and already it looks like I goofed. The marketing geniuses for the new movie Emma. decided to put a period in the title. So it’s Emma., not Emma.
See that? It’s nearly impossible even to write about. Still confused? The issue is that the full stop, or period, is part of the title, and thus always has to be included. If the title happens to be at the end of the sentence, good on you. But what if you have a question about the movie Emma.?
As a writer, I would say that it’s no use to parse out the grammar rules just so you can defend yourself. If the usage, however correct, looks goofy, get rid of it altogether and recast the sentence. In this case, that means never use the title unless it ends a sentence. (That’s exactly what they did on the movie’s website.)
Whatever you do, avoid a structure like this:
The cast of Emma. includes Bill Nighy.
…in favor of this:
Nighy leads the star-studded cast of Emma.
Those who don’t heed this advice are stuck explaining themselves, like reviewer Euan Franklin:
In her debut feature film Emma. (full-stop intended), the director examines…
But I’m also a typesetter, and I love these vagaries. I’ll go out of my way to impale their heads on a stick for all to see, just to fire up the conversation. Like this:
See Emma., the new movie by director Autumn de Wilde
Hah! A period in the middle, but none at the end. Typesetter Me raises a triumphant fist. Writer Me slaps myself in the forehead.
Writer (and I bet latent typesetter) Karen Han doesn’t miss an opportunity to be awkward in her review of the movie:
It’s the latter case in Emma., the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1815 novel.
Even the movie’s distributor, Focus Features, ducked the problem by leaving the period out of their weblink (https://www.focusfeatures.com/emma/about). Perhaps it’s just not internet-possible to use www.emma..com.
So why put us through all this? Cynical Me thinks it’s just an attention grab. But someone smarter went to director Autumn de Wilde and asked her why.
“Because it’s a period piece,” she replied.
As director, I suppose she gets the last word. Period.
Emma. is in theaters now.
Previously on Just Your Type:
When you want to say something big — no, big — no, REALLY BIG, BIGGER THAN BIG, THE BIGGEST OF THE BIGS — should you choose italics, ALL CAPS, or underlined text? First, consider none of those. Try letting the text speak for itself, rather than using formatting to...
This problem came up in a book I was working on recently. The author italicized a lot of words, but didn't include any of his punctuation in the italicization. Put another way, his words were italic, but his punctuation was Roman. It left a lot of visual...
Do orphans, widows and runts still matter? For a million dollars, will you tell me what they really mean?
Graphic Artist Person asked you to provide a 300-dpi JPEG of your headshot. "Fine, right away" you say. You open your image editor and resize your lovey face using its export options, like this… …and you email her the resulting JPEG image. The next morning she writes...
I'd love to think the Flat Earth Society has a great sense of humor. More likely, they have more interest in being provocative than in being correct. And they don't read their own posts much, or the one above might not have hung around as long as it did. Now, if you...
I saw this sign at Target yesterday, in the Toy Department. Maybe it should have been in Back To School.
Remember kids: many of us read left to right.
Okay, the photo they chose for their ad doesn’t help the confusion, but is their bar name one word or two? I'm guessing it’s located close to either a hospital or a frat house. If the latter, it's spelled "rapey." And c'mon, guys: it's li’l, not lil’. The apostrophe...
#HashtagsAreAllTheRage. Oddly, that # character isn't called a hash—not in America, anyway. We call it the pound sign, or (with pinky raised) the octothorpe. (The geniuses at Bell Laboratories gave that fancy name when they added it to the telephone keypad, because...
When I first saw print ads featuring a prime when they meant to use an apostrophe, I considered it the sign of another amateur who got his first computer. When a similar gaffe appeared in a Time Magazine ad—the ad must have cost $30,000—I could imagine how my parents...