In Praise of the Semicolon


In Praise of the Semicolon The semicolon (;) is a curious punctuation mark that could be described as neither fish nor fowl. To quote Harry Shaw’s Punctuate It Right, “It is a stronger mark than the comma, signifying a greater break or longer pause between sentence elements. But it is weaker than the period and other terminal marks (question mark, exclamation point) and cannot be used to end a sentence.” Indeed, as Shaw points out, even its name is misleading, since the semicolon does not play the introductory role of the colon and might more aptly be termed a “semi-period” or “double-comma.” [...]