Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Under-used Semicolon

Here is a love letter to the semicolon, that misunderstod and underutilized punctuation mark, from the New York Times. Most students today are not taught how to use it correctly. Even Bryan Garner's Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, my favorite guide for all things to do with legal writing, gives short shrift to the semicolon--eight terse lines, with only one example. A friend of mine who teaches English at a private high school in Virginia tells her students the semicolon is a "hinge" between two related thoughts. She says that this analogy helps them understand when they should use a semicolon rather than a period or some other punctuation mark.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

Charming post, Marie! Thanks for passing it along. Now, I'll be looking for an opportunity to use a semi-colon literately; perhaps I'll create one.