just possibly

I’ve just been reading an article extolling the author’s love of the semi-colon.

It came as a surprise.  Surely, the colon is a more noble beast?

But then I started wondering:  would it be a helpful sort of discipline to learn to love half-way?

9 thoughts on “just possibly”

  1. Yes! I, too, love the semi-colon; it’s provisional, iffy, versatile. We’re talking serious flare here!

  2. I was taught it was also acceptable to use the colon before a block of indented quotation. So I might write:

    and as it was a sunny day, she was beginning to think
    of coffee in the garden.

    I suppose this is a subset of the example. Semi colons are used where you might otherwise have a full stop but the clause is too closely related to the preceding one.

  3. I am tempted to start a ‘most elegant use of a colon’ competition. It is good for more than lists and quotes.

    Elizabeth: your description of the semi-colon is appealing, but I still prefer the apophatic dash.

  4. Well, of course – but it has a distinct role, nevertheless. I can’t imagine not being sure which one I wanted to use, choosing between colon and semi-colon. Rosemary’s last statement hits it, imo.

  5. Chris, I suspect that one of the oddities of readership of this blog is that no one here is unsure of when to use the colon or semi-colon.

    The question is one of delight, not regulation.

  6. Oh, yes, the apophatic dash is the queen of punctuation, no doubt about it.

    (this blog post brought to you by the at sign, the bracket and the full stop, all the way from Vietnam)

  7. Today I learned that in Greek, a semi-colon is a question mark. Who knew that punctuation also had its own set of languages?!

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