Tuesday, 31 January 2012


SOURCE: The Oatmeal
Today, I gave up the semicolon. I went through my manuscript systematically removing the tadpoles crowned with balls.

This resolution lasted a lot less time than my New Year's ones did. The trouble is: I LOVE SEMICOLONS <3

I cling to my copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynne Truss, the way the religious cleave to their holy books or, more accurately, the way my daughter handles her ASOS catalogue ;)

Semicolons: I know George Orwell didn't need them and that Virginia Woolfe was addicted but it is this quote in The Medusa and the Snail, by Lewis Thomas, that makes my heart smile:

The semicolon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added [...] The period [or full stop] tells you that that is that; if you didn't get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along. But with the semicolon there you get the pleasant feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer.

The semicolon is the expectation mark ;)

I am reading through my manuscript checking I can't substitute and or but or an ordinary comma in the place of every semicolon. *yawn

If you can't and or but it, and a comma doesn't make enough sense, go-for-your-life and stick your semicolon exactly where you wanted it ;)

Growing up, I loved Marathon chocolate bars; they are called Snickers now. 

It was the howling of a lone wolf; it was coming from the edge of the forest.

I'm listening to everything by Camera Obscura, and Glasvegas, that Youtube can play for me; I'm writing my Scottish MG story for the Kelpies Prize/Competition.



  1. Good examples of using a semicolon. I like the short pause in many cases over a period. A period is just so final, but sometimes, the long pause is better.

  2. I entered An Honest Lie, Vol 4 competition. It is a submission and a year long contest to see who gets the prize of a book deal. I also entered a Writer's Digest contest.

    I like the semi colon; yes it does announce there is more to come. I try not to over use it, but sometimes, it just works :)

    Good luck in the competition.


  3. Reach for chocolate any time you find yourself tempted to use the semicolon - you'll be just fine!

  4. Hi Emily
    The semicolon is so perfect; sometimes, you just need more :D

    Hi Donna
    Congratulations to you! You entered your work into a competition, I admire that. I struggle, I think I'm the semicolon's greatest fan ;)

    Hi Rebecca
    Oh! Rebecca!! That was cruel!!! I'm not talking to chocolate - in all its tempting forms - at the moment; I'm not letting inside my house let alone over my lips :D It might work, while the resolutions are working.

    Me and Dickens: "there is nothing better than a friend unless it is a friend with chocolate" ;)

  5. Great post...I'm married to the semicolon! I abuse it shamelessly; don't care though!

    Also...I'm here to say "welcome aboard" the A to Z Challenge, you and your semicolons will love it!

    Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.