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Author Topic: Semicolon: The end of the Line?
Catchfire
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4019

posted 08 April 2008 08:55 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It is a debate you could only really have in a country that accords its intellectuals the kind of status other nations - to name no names - tend to reserve for footballers, footballers' wives or (if they're lucky) rock stars; a place where structuralists and relativists and postmodernists, rather than skulk shamefacedly in the shadows, get invited on to primetime TV; a culture in which even today it is considered entirely acceptable, indeed laudable, to state one's profession as "thinker".

That country is France, which is currently preoccupied with the fate of its ailing semicolon.

Encouragingly, a Committee for the Defence of the Semicolon appeared on the web (only to disappear some days later, which cannot be a very good sign). Articles have been written in newspapers and magazines. The topic is being earnestly discussed on the radio. It was even the subject of an April Fool's joke on a leading internet news site, which claimed, perfectly plausibly, that President Nicolas Sarkozy had just decreed that to preserve the poor point-virgule from an untimely end, it must henceforth be used at least three times a page in all official correspondence.

In the red corner, desiring nothing less than the consignment of the semicolon to the dustbin of grammatical history, are a pair of treacherous French writers and (of course) those perfidious Anglo-Saxons, for whose short, punchy, uncomplicated sentences, it is widely rumoured, the rare subtlety and infinite elegance of a good semicolon are surplus to requirements. The point-virgule, says legendary writer, cartoonist and satirist Franšois Cavanna, is merely "a parasite, a timid, fainthearted, insipid thing, denoting merely uncertainty, a lack of audacity, a fuzziness of thought".


"I would go to the wall for the semi-colon."
-- Barbara Zatyko, Magazines Canada General Manager & Publisher.


[Quote from Canadian Magazines]


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Greeny
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6874

posted 08 April 2008 09:04 AM      Profile for West Coast Greeny     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why? Nobody knows how to use it. I don't know how to use it.
From: Ewe of eh. | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Ghislaine
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14957

posted 08 April 2008 09:06 AM      Profile for Ghislaine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I hope this doesn't happen to English; I love the semi-colon!
From: L'╬-P-╔ | Registered: Feb 2008  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6188

posted 08 April 2008 09:09 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My right pinky calls it home.
From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
jrootham
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Babbler # 838

posted 08 April 2008 09:20 AM      Profile for jrootham     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Kernighan and Ritchie have ensured that it will always have a place on our keyboards.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Caissa
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12752

posted 08 April 2008 09:23 AM      Profile for Caissa     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I rarely use a semi-colon on Babble; it just doesn't seem right.
From: Saint John | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
blake 3:17
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10360

posted 08 April 2008 11:17 AM      Profile for blake 3:17     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe the Committee has moved underground. A struggle like this not an easy one but could precipitate a crisis of the state.

My faction is involved defending &.


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 08 April 2008 11:25 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The way I learned it is that you use a semi-colon to join two thoughts that are related to each other, and could stand alone as sentences. So, no using semicolons with sentence fragments.

I've noticed that a lot of people use commas where they should use semicolons, it's really annoying.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 08 April 2008 11:27 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by West Coast Greeny:
Why? Nobody knows how to use it. I don't know how to use it.

You could have written that like this:

"Nobody knows how to use it; I don't know how to use it."


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
Moderator
Babbler # 1130

posted 08 April 2008 11:27 AM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I so seldom have two consecutive thoughts that are related to eachother.
From: The 10th circle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Proaxiom
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6188

posted 08 April 2008 11:32 AM      Profile for Proaxiom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jrootham:
Kernighan and Ritchie have ensured that it will always have a place on our keyboards.

{Someone should write an entire book punctuated using C syntax; || at least a short story;}


From: East of the Sun, West of the Moon | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged

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