Semi-colon! Semi-colon! Semi-colon!
It’s a calendar month since i asked you lot about the semi-colon, and seven – yes, a magic seven! – of you voted. Statistically valid? Should i let the DCSF (what used to be the DfES) know what we think?
First you told me whether to preserve the semi-colon. Most want to, thank goodness. Of course i am conscious that the subset of blogreaders responding to this question is likely to overlap with the subset of blogreaders who care about* punctuation. Pertinently, everyone who responded knew what the semi-colon was.
* Care about, note, not obsess about. We’re not pedants, any of us.
I’m also glad, though slightly less glad, that semi-colon narrowly won over semicolon. Haven’t determined whether that’s a transatlantic difference
Anyway, i was relieved to find all this matters at least as much to someone else. In fact, how much is a little alarming.
Lionel Shriver, who is not only female but an Orange Prize winner, cares deeply, judging by this Standpoint article, which is ostensibly about the em-dash but very obviously, to anyone skilled at reading between the lines, about the semi-colon. (Which she doesn’t hyphenate, but she’s American.)
More than scary – alarming, even – is the comment thread. There are those out there who care even more profoundly th
an Lionel Shriver.
And i haven’t even used a semi-colon in this post. (And some of us don’t mind about em-dashes.)