The Semicolon

In his blog, A Few Assorted Tips, Seth Godin, at tip number 5 suggests “It’s almost never necessary to use a semicolon.”

I do not disagree but does he intend we not use semicolons merely because they are not necessary?

Those of you who read me know I love semicolons. Where others use dashes to weave related thoughts tighter, pause prose and mimic, in-line, poetic line breaks, I employ semicolons.

Is it necessary? Not a bit. On either side of my semicolons lie complete sentences, or at worst phrases easily sentenced. With little effort I could replace my semicolons with conjunctions or full sentences. I admit some readers, those put off by odd punctuation, may find conjunctions and full sentences less contenious.

But at the moment, I love semicolons.

My mind rolls sequential thoughts not quite needing conjunctions but sharing something surrounding thoughts do not share. I use semicolons to join them. 

I most often think in prosody, not prose, and use semicolons where, if I were writing a sonnet, I would begin a new line or insert a caesura. 

In blog posts, I attempt a conversational tone; since I tend to cram thoughts together when I speak, I feel using dashes or semicolons clarifies by providing necessary pace.

Which is all find and good but somewhat bunk.

The real reason I use semicolons is, I think they are fun, for now. I like them more than dashes. 

Like Seth Godin, I think the semicolon is “…almost never necessary…” but I decided to make it my own, to give the semicolon my rules and use it in my prose form to indicate connected breaks.

And, like baby ducks, semicolons are cute.


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