Writing Tip 163: Asterisks & Footnote Symbols

asteriskAsterisk is one of those words that you just can’t say ten times fast. Try it. I’ll wait…

How’d it go? Turn any heads? Get any “bless you”s?

There are risks to the asterisk*and not only in saying it correctly with any amount of speed. Asterisks muffle curses, and they are often followed by daggers. And if that doesn’t sound like the start of a really bad grammarian murder mystery, I don’t know what is.

When to use an asterisk

  • When replacing letters in words (such as curse words) or names you don’t want to spell out (e.g., “wow, what a grammar b**** that Kris is” or “From your secret crush, K***”)
  • When pointing a reader to further information, as in a footnote.
  • When showing the passage of time in the case of a section break in a story.
  • I’m sure there’s a good kissing emoticon out there with an asterisk, right?