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Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

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Offline davidwailing Reading
05 Jan 2012, 01:46 PM | Post: #11

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RE: Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

(05 Jan 2012 11:37 AM)sujay Wrote:  I now have an image in my head of you marching round in Rambo style with a machine gun hunting out all errant semi-colons!

Thanks Sujay, that very butch image of me is exactly what I like to project!Big Grin

Some great points and opinions being made here. Obviously this is one of those things that's not about right or wrong, and is largely a matter of preference. But I would like to remark on Steve's post:

(04 Jan 2012 03:56 PM)Steve Robinson Wrote:  Can you always replace a semicolon with either a full stop or comma? Not a chance in my opinion. Not if you want to maintain the original sentence flow and structure as the author of any given piece of writing intended.

Personally, I have yet to come across a piece of writing (of any kind) where removing the semi-colon has a negative impact on the sentence. A full stop always makes it better. If I went through all of the posts made on this thread so far, and removed or replaced the semi-colons, they would all still read perfectly well. Better, in my personal opinion. I suggest trying this for a week: automatically remove semi-colons from everything you write and see what you think!

But maybe it goes against the grain too much? As Shayne suggests, are we too influenced by other writers to ever abandon the styles we learnt from them?
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Offline davidwailing Reading
13 Mar 2017, 05:33 PM | Post: #12

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RE: Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

I've stumbled across this very old thread and thought I'd resurrect it!

Regulars to this parish will already be well aware of my antipathy towards semi-colons. Back in 2012, the idea of never using them seemed to be universally rejected. Has anyone changed their mind?

Or, have my manic rants against semi-colons caused anyone to ever reconsider how frequently you use them?
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Offline cecilia_writer Reading Murder by the Glass by Lynda Wilcox
13 Mar 2017, 05:40 PM | Post: #13

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RE: Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

I must admit I can't remember when I last used one - but now the curse of the em-dash has struck and I've had to go through my latest novel replacing some of these with commas and full stops.
I don't think I'm really opposed to semi-colons on principle; I just like to vary things a bit.
Offline JMac Reading
13 Mar 2017, 06:11 PM | Post: #14

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RE: Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

I've just used the search feature on my current work in progress. In nearly 80,000 words I have used the dreaded semi-colon twelve times. I only had a quick look, but I think they are the right choice on those occasions. Here's an example:

This thought made me cry; deep, heaving sobs that shook my body and replaced the fear.

I don't think either a comma or a full stop would have worked better, but I'm open to persuasion.
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Offline Mads Sorensen Reading A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter
13 Mar 2017, 06:47 PM | Post: #15

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RE: Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

You could equally claim that the em-dash is superfluous; the lazy writer's way out of a punctuation pickle. Cormac McCarthy doesn't use commas; a bit of a gimmick to me.

I don't really understand this kind of resistance, like don't start a sentence with, And, But or  Because. Why limit yourself? Why not use what's available?
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Offline Shayne Parkinson Reading A Love of Adventure by Joan Druett
13 Mar 2017, 08:02 PM | Post: #16

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RE: Semi-colons are the enemy and must be destroyed.

No, I still feel much the same about them as in my earlier post. I find semi-colons a useful piece of punctuation, and there are places where they give a sentence the rhythm and flow I want. Semi-colons are for me a useful tool in varying sentence structure and length, and thus giving my prose the shape I wish for it. If I chose to limit the punctuation I allowed myself to use, I'd lose that particular tool. Obviously this is in part personal taste, including the genres one is particularly drawn to, as genre and style influence each other.

I once started a chapter with "But", and felt a small frisson at my rebelliousness.
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