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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The semicolon is not used enough; the comma is overused.

I couldn't agree more with Erin McKean, editor and lexicographer of the New Oxford American Dictionary, and "dictionary evangalist" who has designed Semicolon Appreciation Society T-Shirts in response to recent discussion in the New York Times. I may not purchase the T-Shirt but I have already ordered the stickers so I can correct signs on the street and insert a semicolon where one should be. No, seriously.
semicolon shirtsemicolon shirt
If you love dictionaries, find an hour to listen to Erin's presentation to Google on ten things she wishes people knew about dictionaries.

1 comment:

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Ginny

I am a fan of Lynne Truss.

In her book Eats, Shoots & Leaves she writes a soliloquy in support of the fading semicolon; it's almost a requiem. She too complains that the semicolon isn't used enough; she hasn't given up; she offers semicolonic irrigation; she offers genuine hope.

The truth is that many don't know how to use the semicolon. Even English teachers eschew its use, favouring its avoidance at all times.

Not everyone agrees with Lynne. As Wikipedia says, her book is "one of the bĂȘte noires of the popular linguistics blog Language Log."

You can't please 'em all.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth