I recently surprised my college-age daughter, the one who just received an Associate’s degree in Journalism, by telling her that people think the semicolon is pretentious. In fact, I think it’s on the way out altogether.
Yep, a client said it was snobbish to use semicolons. He was paying, so I broke his run-on sentence into two sentences instead. But I’ve been pondering this question for months.
Comprehension. Emphasis. Organization. Connection. Efficiency. Respect for the reader.
What else? And don’t say “showing off.”
Yep, I said “suck” in a public piece of writing. I wouldn’t say it if I wasn’t frustrated. Punctuation in English is NOT easy, and the rules seem to be pretty fluid, but I’m tired of all the basic mistakes.
And this that and the other thing.
Plus Im thinking about other sentences where the writer goes on and on for a whole paragraph and you really need a breather with a comma or even a set of parentheses but you have to keep going to the end then you just have to read it again to try to understand it thats such a waste of time.
And then theres the basic sentence like this with two different clauses without any kind of connector it needs a semicolon to stop the madness.
However, at this point, I have to admit that the semicolon is the least of our worries.
Some other fun reading about punctuation:
Facebook Group: I think you’re a jackass if you overuse the semicolon
“Americans see the semicolon as punctuation’s axis of evil” – Pause Celebre