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Is the Semicolon Just Plain Silly?

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The semicolon: is it the most maddening and mysterious punctuation mark? Many writers avoid it altogether: when trying to express thoughts clearly, who needs a “semi” anything? Our task is not to sway your feelings, but to simply provide some definition to your like or dislike. When exactly should one use a semicolon? Fundamentally, what’s the difference between a colon and a semicolon?

The word colon is derived from the Greek kolon meaning “limb, member, portion” and the Latin colon, meaning “part of a poem.”

The : symbol was first introduced to English orthography around 1600. In John Bullokar’s An English expositor (1616) the author defines the colon as, “A marke of a sentence not fully ended which is made with two prickes.” The “prickes” Bullokar refers to are the equally sized dots centered on the same vertical line.

We’ve come to accept the use of the colon as falling somewhere between a semicolon and period. The punctuation mark informs the reader that whatever is written after the colon should usually prove or explain that which comes before. For example, “I have two dogs: Rufus and George.” In addition, the colon is often used to replace quotes in a passage as in the following: Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed: I have a dream.

Mathematics makes great use of the colon primarily in relation to ratios – 2:1 (two to one) and in mathematical logic – as in the phrase, “such that” which is assigned with the : symbol.

Though not a period or a comma, the semicolon is often used to list items and link related clauses. When used instead of a period between two sentences, the semicolon links the two and lets the reader know that both sentences have a stronger relationship to each other than the sentences around them.

The comma symbol within the semicolon denotes a slight pause instead of a full stop or period – leading many to incorporate the semicolon within a sentence to hint of fluidity.

Some linguists have questioned the need for the semicolon, stating that two sentences can exist separately and still relate a connective thought. However, others believe the semicolon is best suited for creative writers (such as Virginia Woolf and Herman Melville) who have managed to squeeze subtle expression out of the maligned mark.

Do you ever use the semicolon or do you avoid it at all costs? Let us know below.

Groupon Expands to Saskatoon

Wireless News November 6, 2010

Wireless News 11-06-2010 Groupon Expands to Saskatoon Type: News

Groupon, a shopping website that offers a daily deal on local goods, services and cultural events, launched in Saskatoon on October 25. go to website groupon las vegas

“An energetic city known for its live theatre, museums, galleries and exciting things to do, Saskatoon is an ideal market for the Groupon model,” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon. “We will offer residents unbeatable deals from Saskatoon’s top businesses, while driving new streams of revenue to local merchants.”

“Groupon brings buyers and sellers together in a fun and collaborative way,” said Solomon. “We offer the consumer a great deal they can’t get anywhere else and deliver the sales directly to the merchant.”

During its first week in Saskatoon, Groupon’s featured deals included a cupcake bakery, movie tickets and a fondue restaurant. Upcoming deals include a bicycle shop and Asian cuisine. Groupon Saskatoon joins more than a dozen existing Canadian markets currently enjoying Groupon deals, the Company said. here groupon las vegas

More company information:

www.groupon.com

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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409 Comments

  1. Nageenakaur Kaur -  April 9, 2014 - 10:48 am

    Usage of semicolon is beneficial and recommended for fluidity of expression

    Reply
  2. Nageenakaur Kaur -  April 9, 2014 - 10:45 am

    Rightly said that the semi colon indicates the fluidity of expression and being in the 5eaching profession I would recommend its usage

    Reply
  3. Frederick B. Hall -  April 8, 2014 - 4:39 am

    I use a semicolon to connect a complete sentence with a phrase. I use a colon to list items. Lately I have seen, on-line, many people who never learned to punctuate properly. That is frustrating to me. I too have much to learn there.
    Would you please explain the 3 dots … and the 4 dots…. My understanding is, 3 dots indicate something was left out mid-sentence and the sentence continues. Four dots indicate something was left out previously and the sentence ends with the 4 dots. Thank you for this feature. I love it.

    Reply
  4. T. Andrew -  April 7, 2014 - 7:03 am

    From high school on thru college; all my English teachers held different opinions about the humble colon/semi-colon. Even tho I’m not a author, I have written for small groups; the few churches I’ve pastored & online blog commentary. I believe I’ve now finally had the colon/semi-colon use probability explained.
    Addtional note: I can only hope that the archaic spelling of some: -ough & -ought words; shall pass away & the shortened word-use becomes officially acceptable.

    Reply
    • TDawg -  April 9, 2014 - 7:50 pm

      Thru? Tho? Seriously?
      And you repeatedly used semi-colons incorrectly.

      I’d blame all of those English teachers.

      Reply
      • Acme -  April 10, 2014 - 11:28 pm

        Totally agree.
        Confused readers with such orrendous use of the semi-colon.
        But wait, how come the teachers are responsible for this? Im certain not a minute set of his classmates got this usage correctly.

        Reply
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