Just Your Type

Type, design, writing and other funny stuff

It’s Emma period.

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.

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.

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Who's this guy?

"Mick" is Michael Campbell, a book designer, graphic artist and writer. His humor column, The Dumpster, closes every issue of Food & Spirits Magazine. Author of Are You Going To Eat That?, and the new 2017 book of seventy hilarious all new essays, Of Mice and Me.
A singer songwriter too. New CD My Turn Now is available now!