Happy Wednesday Everyone. Back in the swing of things, as today is a writing post day, I decided to do a post about punctuation. Or more pointedly, semicolons.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't use them. First of all, I don't know what they're for. According to Strunk and White
If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single complete sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.
Gallagher's romances are entertaining; they are full of love and desire.
(My own play on the example they give.)
It is, of course, equally correct to write each of these as two sentences, replacing the semicolons with periods.
Gallagher's romances are entertaining. They are full of love and desire.
Which is what I do. As I'm typing along in Word, sometimes, when I complete my sentence, my little green squiggly line will appear and then I will go to my Spelling & Grammar tool to see what I've done wrong. (God I love Word.) And it will say, "replace with semicolon". And I do not. I always separate the sentences.
According to THE MIRRIAM-WEBSTER CONCISE HANDBOOK FOR WRITERS
The semicolon is used in ways that are similar to those in which periods and commas are used. Because of these similarities, the semicolon is often thought of as either a weak period or a strong comma.
Now in this chapter, Mirriam and Webster throw out phrases like independent clauses, coordinating conjunctions, grammatical construction of the second illiptical clause, and my favorite, conjunctive adverb. In this chapter, there are ten rules to learn before you can use a semicolon.
My question -- Why?
Why would anyone want to torture themselves learning how to use a semicolon when most of us have enough trouble with a plain old comma?
Why would you want to use a weak period when a full stop will do? Or a strong comma? How many beats is a strong comma anyway? Two? Three? Enough to take a sip of coffee?
Tell me -- Do you use semicolons? Or am I the only one who doesn't? Any other punctuation you want to diss today?
PS In rereading my latest work in progress, I found not one, but two semicolins. My bad. But I still don't like them.
PPS I hope you'll swing by on Friday when I explain my reasons for self-publishing.