Monday, June 23, 2008
You are required to read this unspeakably awesome article from Slate. I'm particularly partial to the following:
Semicolons do have some genuine shortcomings; Slate's founding editor, Michael Kinsley, once noted to the Financial Times that "[t]he most common abuse of the semicolon, at least in journalism, is to imply a relationship between two statements without having to make clear what that relationship is." All journalists can cop to this: The semicolon allows woozy clauses to lean on each other like drunks for support.
O naive Mr. Kinsley! The relational ambiguity of the semicolon isn't a flaw; it's magnificent verisimilitude! Life is equivocal; shouldn't punctuation follow suit? I love that weaselly semicolon; hiccup.