Punctuating our remarks: to semi-colon, or not to semi-colon

Are you a stickler for grammar and punctuation? Do semi-colons make you smile, or scowl? How about exclamation points? Too many of them make me crazy!!!

On Tuesday night, our Canadian Authors Association group talked about critiquing. A few weeks before the meeting, the moderator of the group gave two of us a story to read, so we could prepare a constructive critique presentation for the meeting.

The author of the piece used semi-colons to structure parts of the story; some paragraphs consisted of several sentences (“independent clauses” snooty writers would call them) joined by semi-colons.

I like semi-colons; they solve many punctuation dilemmas beautifully. In this case I thought full-stop sentences would serve the story better. My opinion was not unanimous; some people love their semi-colons.

Our discussion on Tuesday brought to mind the post by Tom Gething, “Interview with a Semi-Colon”.

Punctuation marks elicit surprisingly strong reactions from people.

As with most things, I fall somewhere in the middle. One of my Facebook friends posts with no punctuation (and often no capitals) at all. Many times, it has taken me several tries to figure out what he’s talking about. We really do need punctuation to communicate clearly. But overall, I don’t stress about punctuation. Let a writer be a little creative, if that’s what feels right for him or her.

Well, okay, except for all those exclamation points. Please, people, if you must use one (and you’d be surprised at how often you don’t need to), just one will do.

Maybe you can play with the new Interrobang. That should keep you busy for a while.


Photo from Wikipedia


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on February 15, 2013, in Art, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m sure we’ve all read “Eats, shoots and leaves”, by Lynne Truss. But if you want to borrow it, you’ll notice Ottawa library on-line doesn’t use any punctuation marks. Kinda defeats the object.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Millennial Pastor

An iPhone Pastor for a Typewriter Church

Invest In YourSelf First!!

Only We Can Change our Life, No one Else Do it For Us


awakening to the sacred feminine presence in our lives

Dr. Jen Gunter

Wielding the lasso of truth

and the words that echo..

a lot of words...

Hurry Up & Wait

Random thoughts and a collection of ideas, stories and photos

Alex on Faith

Growing in faith together!

Be Different "BUT" Be Yourself

Journey from severe depression - Self healing - Acceptance - Learning - Growth - Connecting - Understanding - Being Unique


« me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser - lo que fuiste no será otra vez - los tigres me han encontrado pero no me importa. »

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Moral Fibre

Musings of She who Knits in Churches


comida italiana



The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Be Blogger (Official)

Writing is all about finding the courage to write. And courage is all about realizing that some things are more important than fear.

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech


Breathe, read...smile


Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

%d bloggers like this: