Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Straight Dope on Semicolons

"The Straight Dope" highlights common grammatical errors -- so you can stop looking dopey when you do these things incorrectly. :)

Please note: Unless otherwise specified, these are the proper grammar and formatting rules according to Chicago style---the style in which you should be writing, if you're writing fiction---and some nonfiction.  (So don't give me a laundry list of reasons why some other way is correct. It *might be*, in AP style or APA style or MLA formatting . . . but that's not what I'm talking about here.)
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**I'm bringing over some of my series posts from my old blog, so this is a blast-from-the-past post for those of you who have been with me since Wordpress.**
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I was doing some editing last night, and I saw a lot of semicolon abuse -- and I couldn't take it anymore!  I had to change my status updates (on Facebook and Twitter) to this:
This prompted quite a response from some of my snarkier Facebook friends. One even asked how to correctly use them.

So, without further ado . . .

THE STRAIGHT DOPE ON SEMICOLONS
  • Use them to divide a series of things that would require several commas in order to be grammatically correct and would, therefore, be confusing with all those commas.
Example: There are cool people in Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Orlando, Florida.
  • Use them to separate two complete sentences that have a relationship.
Example: You asked me how to use semicolons; now, I'm writing a super-nerdy blog post about it.
  • Use them to make a winky and/or flirty smiley face.
Example: ;)
The end.

8 comments:

  1. Great post! That's funny, I just switched from Blogger to WP.

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  2. Thanks! And, hee -- we're just two ships in the blogosphere! We'll have to compare notes.

    Are you going to RWA this year, BTW?

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  3. LOL! The last example is my absolute fave reason for them :) xo

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  4. @Sara -- It is, by far, the best use. I agree!

    @Monica -- Thanks! :D

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  5. I'll be looking for your feedback on blogger. I haven't personalized mine yet. I have been waffling about whether I should switch to WP. I signed up for the email. Look forward to your posts.

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  6. @Stacey -- thanks for following!

    I'm liking it so far -- my big thing was Google Friend Connect.

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