The Endangered Semicolon (by Randomness)

Posted by heathercurley under Randomness

Still not bringing my A-Game here. I blame it on the fact I am quite easily distracted by entertainment gossip. First Farrah, then Michael, now Billy Mays? June was a good month NOT to be a celeb. Anyway.

I recently joined a critique group; online of course because as we all know I’m a tad bit too lazy to actually drive somewhere. The critique group is awesome–got some really good feedback on my newest work in progress (on a related side note, I’m too terrified to send the finished one in for crit because I’M BACK TO HATING IT). I was startled, nay shocked, to learn that my BFF–the semicolon–is rarely invited to the party anymore. Apparently in the romance genre, the semicolon is frowned upon. I guess you can still use it in other genres, but in romance it is kind of like a faux pas.

I mourn this. I love the semicolon! Where are these bizarre punctuation rules coming from? I’ve read on other blogs that only “idiots” put two spaces after periods anymore because this is 2009 and we aren’t using typewriters. One person even went as far as to say that editors won’t accept your work if you use two spaces after the period. Seriously? I really hope that it just a nasty rumor with no truth to it. Because if not, that really sucks.

I really can’t figure out what is wrong with the semicolon. But this apparently means I can bring an old friend, the em dash (–) back into play. In high school, my creative writing teach informed me that em dashes (–) were incorrect in writing and the mark of an incompetent, novice writer. HA, take that…lady’s whose name I don’t remember. Miss King? Wow, was high school that long ago that I don’t even remember teachers names? Sad.

Has anyone else out there heard of this sudden avoidence to semicolon? Heaven help comma, because I would die if a limit was put on his use. A day without commas is like a day without sunshine.

On July 5th, I’m starting two online writing courses. One is on past life regression and using it to create cool characters. The other is on plotting. And, just to throw another wrench in the works, I’m applying to grad school. So, I’m taking the Miller Analogies Test this month too. Because, you know, I’ve really missed studying vocab and suffixes. In the end, studying for the MAT makes me realize just how much crap I’ve forgotten. It’s terrible to get old.

I think once these classes start, I’m going to repost a three part blog “series” (I use that term loosely) I wrote when I went to a writers conference last year. It’s more of a study about how inept I am at maneuvering said conference than anything else, but still reasonably entertaining. So, at least there’s that to look forward to.

About DigitalPlato

Poch is a Bookrix author and a freelance writer. He is a frequent contributor to TED Conversations.
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7 Responses to The Endangered Semicolon (by Randomness)

  1. mind123 says:

    Yeah I am also confused at times…lol I’m a bitsa….bitsa everything! My nationality is ‘worldly’. Well that is the future for everyone, not just for me…

  2. pochp says:

    That was a very interesting comment and observation too Stacey.
    I can imagine how hard it was to de-Australianize your english!

    Btw, I got confused about your nationality. Is it ok for you to tell here? 🙂

  3. I think that they are probably changing the rules because literacy has gone down the tubes a bit. Maybe it comes from the fact that the world works in a more multicultural way, and that is making any true literacy or language rules to become watered down. For me coming from Australia, and now living in Holland, I go from having to use Australian English to British English and Dutch to also my books that I have tried to place in American English for the fact that I was putting them onto an American site. So you can imagine that for all countries there are different rules, which one is correct? This goes also for grammatics. Literacy is changing everyday in our multicultural world. Hopefully in the future it will not be in ‘how’ something is written that consideration will be given, but in ‘what’ is written.

    Very interesting article and observation about how rules are changing in writing.

  4. Jelena says:

    I was asked, on many occasions, why I was using that mysterious sign that has its widely accepted and well understood usage only in certain programming languages and mathematics. Well, because I need it!

    Simply said – a semicolon is used to connect two independent clauses together or as a super-comma.

    I will be using it until the end of time, and I do not care if someone frowns upon that. I will frown right back upon their bizarre rules. Long live the semicolon!

    • pochp says:

      Well Jelena,
      If you’re loyal to the semi-colon, all’s ok.
      Maybe some people like me are just lazy to use it 🙂
      Btw, I just forgot to approve Maya’s comment that’s why the confusion.

  5. pochp says:

    Excellent essay Heather.
    And I thought I was the only one noticing the death of the semi-colon.

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