Semicolon Followup

Many thanks for all the kind words about the Semicolon Appreciation Society!
Here are some followup links, in case you just can't get enough semicolon in your online diet:
Some letters to the NYT about the original story [Thanks to RLE for the link]
Trevor Butterworth sent me a link his longer article in the Financial Times, back in 2005, in which he outlines a purported American bias against the semicolon. (I believe Americans use fewer semicolons per capita, but more as a nation, in a kind of reverse image of our carbon footprint …)
The Semicolon's Dream Journal [exactly what it says on the box]

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13 thoughts on “Semicolon Followup

  1. Erin, darling,I just HAVE to point out that in your answer to the question about copyrighting word coinages, you used a comma where a semicolon should go: “Real lawyers should feel free to weigh in, that’s what blog comments are for.”You’ve got two independent clauses and no conjunction there. Perfect semicolon territory–otherwise, it’s what is called a comma splice.Your loving fellow lexie,Wendi


  2. Thanks for these links;— I had no idea the semicolon was atrophying.I use lots of semicolons myself. But of even great interest to me is the correct use of the archaic semicolon-mdash and coma-mdash that I find in older literature. I’m not even sure what they are really called. The semicolon-mdash seems to be used as a composite semicolon and colon. There also seems to be a use of the archaic mdash instead of the colon— to set off lists; just like that.Example of some of this from english translation of Letters of Pliny:”Oh! you have behaved cruelly, grudging your friend, —had almost said yourself ;—and upon second thoughts I do say so ;—in this way: for how agreeably should we have spent the evening, in laughing, trifling, and literary amusements!”


  3. Or,I love semicolons; this post makes me extremely happy. I really am the only person I know who uses them on a regular basis.


  4. I think semicolons are wonderful, and sinbce I read so much on punctuation, I realize armies have fought over mistaken punctuation…. Thank you for fighting the good fight! DICTIONARY, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.(Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic’s Word Book)


  5. As a Programmer Ive used the semicolon a lot, much more than the colon.@Scott:Peculiar setup the ; -I myself find the mdash dreadful; it interrupts my reading flow.


  6. I can’t believe how many so-called writing experts slander the very-useful semicolon. I, for one, find it a very appropriate tool (when used judiciously, of course). I actually had an otherwise respected colleague, with a master’s degree in technical communication tell me I shouldn’t use it because no one understands what it means anymore. Nonsense! The language should be dumbed down just because *people* have been??
    “Avoid it like the plague” indeed!


  7. But Vonnegut used a semicolon in his stamteent—how bizarre—he must have been getting old when he said that.Now, my favorite piece of punctuation, the —you know, the one that’s longer than a regular dash—used as an alternative to parenthesis or commas.I like my em dashes closed, with no spaces between it and the words it separates. I see too many — of these — floating around the internet and it drives me nuts.


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