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Peter20
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Peter20
544 posts
Shepherd

I think that the semicolon is drastically underused. You probably don't see it that much unless you are a newspaper editor or some type of semicolon keyboard painter. So my question is: why is that? Is it just that people don't know how to use them? (to connect two independent clauses) Or ,maybe they just don't want to? Or, just forget about them entirely? It's not really that hard to forget it has it's own key on the keyboard; (yeah! I used one. Correctly I hope) you don't even have to push shift.

So the main point: my New Year's resolution is to use semicolons more. And, I thought that you, all my friends at AG, would like to join me in the movement to use the semicolon.

Try to use one in your response for extra points. (points are not real)

  • 11 Replies
dragonball05
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dragonball05
1,744 posts
Farmer

Well a while back in high school, my english teacher gave me the semicolon talk. The full name is the "Sexy Semicolon." It's supposed to be sprinkled throughout literature, only being used sparingly, but enough to draw attention away from the "village bicycle" that is the period.

Don't use it too much. You'll ruin its sparsity!

daleks
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daleks
3,787 posts
Lord

Well, I have already used one now. That did not seem too hard to do.

xXxDAPRO89xXx
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xXxDAPRO89xXx
6,794 posts
Count

Hmm I almost forgot what a semicolon was... But anyway it is barely used due to it's pal (not really) the comma... As Daleks said making a winking face is one use... ^^

dragonball05
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dragonball05
1,744 posts
Farmer

Sentence structuring is a delicate art; you can't just throw commas in willy nilly. Even with adding words like and or but, the sentences eventually just run on too often, making the flow awful. You have to be careful about just throwing commas in to connect two ideas. Periods as well. You don't wanna make things too short and choppy. There has to be a nice variety in the sentence length, with flow that gives the reader the least amount of whiplash as he/she is reading. Semicolons are fun, and great when used with appropriate placement and number of uses, but can quickly be overused. Be careful out there, or future english teachers will bite your heads off! :P

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
9,991 posts
Scribe

Wow dragonball..props on that *golf clap*

As for me...I prefer my usage of a different "lost art" in the literature world...the ellipses.

In my opinion...ellipses give the writing a more natural flow...as if it was being spoken to you. It gives the person a good idea on when the pauses are in the sentence...and how the writer is wanting them to come out to the audience

rayoflight3
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rayoflight3
437 posts
Peasant

There is actually more than one way to use semicolons. They can be used to connect independent clauses, as you said, but they can also be used to separate items in a series.

You really shouldn't make a resolve to use semicolons more often, because stylistically speaking, they only work well in certain cases. Usually, they're used in lieu of a comma and coordinating conjunction when doing so would make the writing flow better. Furthermore, they're more appropriate when the two clauses are closely related in content. More often than not, it's not an issue of whether or not you know how to use a semicolon but rather an issue of whether or not you can use one effectively.

And more people seem to have problems with comma usage than semicolon usage.

dragonball05
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dragonball05
1,744 posts
Farmer

Wow dragonball..props on that *golf clap*


Thanks, I try. :P

As for me...I prefer my usage of a different "lost art" in the literature world...the ellipses.


Haha, I remember my scolding in the past when I tried arguing that it was okay I had used multiple ellipses in my paper. Another English teacher encounter that won't soon be forgotten.
jezz
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jezz
3,347 posts
Blacksmith

In my opinion...ellipses give the writing a more natural flow...

I sometimes think ellipses are the text equivalent of an awkward pause :P

Before Christmas my boyfriend was writing a story for his Game Design course and he asked me to proof read it. That boy used about 20 semicolons in 3 pages on Word! I thought it was a serious overkill but he insisted they were all necessary :P
Peter20
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Peter20
544 posts
Shepherd

You really shouldn't make a resolve to use semicolons more often, because stylistically speaking, they only work well in certain cases.

I didn't; mean I'd just throw; semicol;ons around where; ever; I want I meant; that I'd use; them when; proper.

All joking aside this was my rather lame New Years resolution for some reason and seeing how I only use like 4 a year, I think it would be okay to up my output a little bit. I just feel sorry that it is a rather neglected part of punctuation.
winmaster1
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winmaster1
641 posts
Peasant

Semicolon is used that much; however, if you go through some books, commas are replaced by the semicolon.

soccerdude2
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soccerdude2
1,684 posts
Farmer

I really like the semicolon; it makes me happy!

Besides that, I always thought the apostrophe should have replaced the semicolon's spot on the keyboard. But then Type to Learn's home position lingo would be all messed up and they'd have to program a new application! Ah, those first grade library days...

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