My affair with the semicolon; sanctioned at last!
OK, so you’re asking yourself, “Who gets giddy about such a thing?” Me! That’s who!
Along with our own voice and word style, every writer has their preference of structure. Some prefer the short, more direct sentence approach, and others, like me, write in a similar fashion to how we speak; an often long river of thought that attempts to explain and clarify, or even propose, if you will.
As one who tends to get my thoughts down first as they bubble from my brain before editing, I often find that I’ve either used far too many comas, or not enough. Typically the former, I go about removing my transgressions and clarifying where necessary. It must be a genetic thing, as my son writes in very much the same way. When asked to ‘read over’ something for him, it’s often just an over-use of the comma that I correct; his writing otherwise, something that always delivers me great pleasure regardless the topic. His writing simply sings.
In my work as a copywriter, typically for consumer content that requires structures more short and sweet — attention spans being what they are these days — a fully expressed thought process that includes the use of a semicolon is often edited down to two separate sentences. One only needs to have this done by a few editors before you start doing it proactively yourself.
But there it was tonight; a Huffington Post article authored by Claire Fallon on her mutual love of the semicolon. Actually, I think we must have been twins separated at birth, as she also loves commas and the em dash! My other favorite!
If you’ve had your keyboard knuckles swatted a few time (metaphorically speaking) by editors, teachers, or proofreaders and thus, have either avoided the semicolon, or could use a quick refresher on the proper usage, do yourself a favor and check out Claire’s article. Her style as a writer is quite fun and her tips, very helpful.
Afterwards, let your pros and semicolons soar!