Think of a world where the punctuation goes on strike.

What if question marks quit questioning? Can you imagine? Perhaps the commas complain of overwork, and take a break from breaking up lists, clauses, interjections and so on.

“Don’t forget us,” say the speech marks, butting in. “We should be paid double, but who thinks of that, eh?”

Meanwhile, the exclamation marks are fed up with being overused by advertisers and small children. They go into a sulk, and refuse to shout “Surprise!!!” (As an aside, the brackets aren’t too happy either. It’s no fun never being the main attraction.)

The dashes dash off to form a break-away group – they’ve had enough of being mistaken for hyphens. It’s a one-way, down-hill slide to all-out chaos; the semi-colons won’t be far behind.

The greengrocer’s apostrophe takes a welcome break; it’s tough, but those tomatoes will just have to manage without. (It’s anyone’s guess what possessed apostrophes to go there in the first place – haven’t they got enough to do?)

There’s more: colons, curly brackets {what’s the point?}, not to mention ellipsis… (Oh, I just did.) But so that this doesn’t get out of control, it’s time for a final full stop.