Semicolon Appreciation Society

After all the recent discussion of the semicolon (in the NYTimes and other places) I couldn't resist the urge to make Semicolon Appreciation Society T-Shirts. Because, really, if a thing is worth talking about, it's certainly worth wearing.
semicolon shirt
semicolon shirt
Here's the back (on the white/light shirts only, no back printing on dark shirts):
semicolon shirt
I also made some 3×5 stickers, so you can edit signs to add semicolons where they ought to be:
semicolon sticker
And, of course, a membership card:
semicolon appreciation society membership card
Although I'm not happy with the wording of it. Anyone want to suggest new wording that actually, you know, includes a semicolon?
I was thinking that the Semicolon Appreciation Society's bylaws should be like those of humorous WWII servicemen's associations, with riddles and having to forfeit the price of a drink if you can't write a sentence including a semicolon on demand. Suggestions for further bylaws entertained in the comments.
Thanks are due to Garth, who recklessly encouraged me, and India Amos, who suggested the completely wonderful Cooper Poster font as the one that included the platonic ideal of the semicolon form.

Labels: ,

Advertisements

49 thoughts on “Semicolon Appreciation Society

  1. I think my semicolon muscles have atrophied; I need to flex them a bit. (Does that work?)In my casual writing, I generally use a dash where a semicolon would probably be more appropriate.

    Like

  2. The easiest way to work semicolons in there would be to make one of the list items contain a comma; then you’d have to use a semicolon to separate them. To wit:“. . . is a member in good standing of the Society; charged with performing all the duties and obligations required of members; and entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto, where allowable by law.”

    Like

  3. I like indiamos’s suggestion, but I would change the wording slightly to make it more “list-like” as shown in the following example:“. . . is a member in good standing of the Society; is charged with performing all the duties and obligations required of members; is entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto, where allowable by law.”I’ll try to think of something to add to the list.

    Like

  4. I think the membership card employ a different function of the semicolon. I’m of the opinion that creating a complex sentence without using a conjunction is the most noble use of the semicolon; using it in a list necessitates using a comma and thus implies a subservience or inferiority to a much baser punctuation mark.My suggestion:…is a member is good standing of the Society. Good standing is contingent upon the performance of all duties and obligations required of members; a failure to uphold such duties and obligations shall be considered a repudiation of the Society and degrades one’s standing within the Society. A member in good standing is entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto where allowable by law; the Society’s regulations, while just and right in all possible ways, have been deemed illegitimate when in conflict with state, municipal, and national laws.It’s not perfect and uses more commas than semicolons, but I think it’s a decent start.

    Like

  5. Indiamos’ suggestion doesn’t work because he/she is consistently using the semicolon incorrectly! Commas and semicolons are not interchangeable; a semicolon requires that both sides of the sentence be complete sentences unto themselves. When semicolons are used in a list, they follow a colon.

    Like

  6. @L: Where on earth did you get such a notion? Please see CMS 15 6.60 and 6.126.I think “L” must be a Society for the Advancement of Colons member who is attempting to infiltrate our group!

    Like

  7. Delighted to see all this fuss because I am a walking semicolon! I had a third of my colon removed in 2000 after a tumor appeared; thus, I have a special affinity for the semicolon!Keep up the crusade!

    Like

  8. Ah! Brilliant. I love the semicolon–but cannot resist inserting a comma here:The semi-colon is not used enough; the comma, too often.

    Like

  9. The platonic ideal of the semicolon approximates a vertical representation of 09, zero-nine. Therefore, I think that 2009 should be branded the year of the semicolon as soon as possible.

    Like

  10. @indiamosAppeal to authority is one of the classic rhetorical devices used to dupe gullible listeners. By what right does the CMS rule? None! Use semicolons however you like;That said, I personally view the use of the semicolon in a list as a base and degrading use of a noble mark; the calling of the semicolon is as a conjunction.

    Like

  11. I am a technical writer. There are very few places in my line of work where it would not be better to use two sentences instead of a semicolon.

    Like

  12. I’ve always thought of the semicolon as an alternative for the conjunction “and” in a compound sentence; now I wonder, am I wrong?

    Like

  13. Another way:“. . . is a member in good standing of the Society; hereby is charged with performing all the duties and obligations required of members; and entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto, where allowable by law.”

    Like

  14. Like Chris I tend to use the dash – it shows up better when I have a space before and after – you can’t do that with a semi!Anything about the overuse of the explanation point?

    Like

  15. For wording of the membership card: [full colon, another orphan]”…is a member in good standing of the Society;[first semicolon] he or she is charged with the duties and obligations of advocating the proper use of the revered semicolon; [second semicolon]of protecting and defending it against the hordes of semiliterate semicolondroppers; [third semicolon]and of explaining, to the benefit of the expectant masses, the utility, beauty, clarity, [series, or Harvard comma] and sensitivity of this most misunderstood of all literary tools.There are NO rights or privileges pertaining herein; [fourth semicolon] defense of the evered semicolon is reward sufficient.

    Like

  16. I use/abuse semicolons on a regular and consistent basis; I also make liberal use of ellipses (…). Punctuation for fun and profit!

    Like

  17. Dashes are so violent; they are like little sentence-slashing razor blades. On the other hand, semicolons are a pleasant reminder to the reader to pause for a breath. Thanks for helping me honor this oft-overlooked punctuation mark.

    Like

  18. These are most appealing and for a good cause; however, I still don’t think the semi will survive the century. Sadly.Digging your site. If you ever want to stop by, I am debuting “Grammarmama,” a new mini-series on my own blog, Crabmommy. As a former grammar teacher I have an ear and an eye out for egregious grammar-mangling. Grammarmama aims to help moms help their kids (and themselves) speak gooder as they grow.crabmommy.blogspot.com

    Like

  19. I like semicolons. There’s nothing like a good compound-complex sentence. Unfortunately, I actually have a college teacher who seems against them. Joyous will be the day, next week, when I will leave her class forever. Until then I will hoard my precious punctuation for those who really appreciate it. 😉

    Like

  20. I challenge my students to sprinkle the semi-c liberally in their writing; it adds a bit of style to otherwise abysmal adolescent prose.

    Like

  21. Um, to the commenter who thought I should have used the word “better” in my comment, rather than “gooder.”….Ya think?It was deliberate.A joke, that is. :)No wonder we grammar geeks are accused of being humorless. Apparently quite a few of us are.

    Like

  22. I am looking for an English expert (definately not I) to comment on Section 8b and 8c of http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/80R/billtext/html/HB01919F.htm and help me understand whether the semicolons used to separate the list, along with the word “or” create a meaning of 1 or 2 or 3? or a meaning of 1 and 2, or 3? Does this make sense? If this is not the appropriate place for such a discussion someone can just email me privately at mike AT bernoski.net. Thanks so much for your wonderful expertise!!!!

    Like

  23. For the back of the shirt:Happiness is using semicolonsorHave you used a semicolon latelyorProud member of the Semicolon Appreciation Society

    Like

  24. … is a member in good standing of the society; therefore, the member is charged with performing all the duties and obligations required of such, and entitled to all rights and privileges pertaining therto (where allowable by law). P.S. Maybe I’m partial, but there is a nice parallel between “of such” and “thereto”P.S.S. The easiest people to teach how to use the semi- colon is Spanish speakers who are learning English. No joke. They write in run- ons, so once they learn about the semi, they run with it (really bad pun intended).

    Like

  25. @ Miriam:”The semi-colon is not used enough; the comma, too often.”It’s lovely, but tell me how you feel about writing it this way to make it just a little nicer:”The semi-colon is used not often enough; the comma, too often.”This way the two sentences mirror one another structurally speaking. Just a thought…And @ ormus:”How about; The semicolon, sad (get a life) members, appreciation society.”If you’re going to insult people on a grammar-related thread, it might be a good idea to put some thought into what you want to say before you put it down. I’m hoping you can read this properly, because after reading your attempt at wit I’m not sure you understand the principles of basic sentence structure at all. Keep at it though; maybe you’ll figure out what I mean to tell you here!

    Like

  26. do you know how utterly SAD you people are??? A SEMI-COLON APPRECIATION SOCIETY??? Dont you people have LIVES??? I suppose not. I tested at the top of my whole grade in English but Im not trying to run a semi-colon appreciation society!!! I have a life! So should you! Just spend one second to think about it. Do ANY of the people reading this have boyfriends? Friends that they actually LIKE? Are the people reading this sporty? Are they thin? DO THEY ACTUALLY LIKE THEMSELVES???? the answer is, of course, no. GET A DAMN LIFE PEOPLE!!!!

    Like

  27. Im proud to be a semicolon supporter; I wouldnt have it any other way. In fact, I was inspired to write a poem, entitled An Ode To The Semicolon.Cheers!

    Like

  28. It’s funny how that little tiny mark (;) sarecs me to death. Correct grammar is important to me and I tend to notice grammar mistakes; therefore I often avoid the semicolon for fear that I will use it incorrectly.(How did I do?) Poor use of words annoys me more than punctuation. Love this post!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s