Bring back the Semicolon!

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Maulrus
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#1
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#1
Yes, I know the semicolon already exists and is fairly frequent in contemporary writing. However, the semicolon to which I refer, the semicolon which was popular in the nineteenth century, was so much more!

It could be used to connect small and long clauses together (which would nowadays get a full stop).
Example:
"The old semicolon was incredibly useful; truly, a terrific innovation of punctuation which still holds true today."

It could be used in the reverse way to its modern usage.
Example:
"No; I quite enjoyed the old usage of the semicolon."

And a whole assortment of other ways.

Disclaimer: In order to prove my point I will use the semicolon like this throughout my argument

This old semicolon would be fantastically useful nowadays; think of how often this situation comes up in your daily writing! Especially in reference to news or magazine article which write extensively on one subject. I recently got into a debate with my English teacher about the use of a semicolon; in which my teacher described my use of the semicolon as "archaic". This thread came about as a rebuttal to that statement.

Why would we not want punctuation as useful as this in modern writing? The complexity of sentences would be able to grow substantially, whilst also increase ease of read with less blunt stops in a topic which should have been expanded upon in a single sentence.

Thus, I propose, that the semicolon be brought back to its former glory and all our writing benefit from its prosperity; which, of course, would be the only logical outcome from a grammatical tool such as the semicolon.
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username4910484
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#2
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#2
All hail semicolons; they are cool.
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chazwomaq
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#3
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#3
I side with your teacher. The semi-colon is quite archaic. The main problem is that is can be used in several different ways that are hard to remember and use consistently and correctly. The result is that most people use them incorrectly. I am forever correcting it in my students' work.

Furthermore, you can almost always replace the semi-colon with a full stop or dash. Therefore it is best to avoid them unless you are deliberately writing archaically. I agree that semi-colons allow more complex sentences. But complexity is bad. Good writing should strive for simplicity.
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Maulrus
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#4
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#4
(Original post by chazwomaq)
I side with your teacher. The semi-colon is quite archaic. The main problem is that is can be used in several different ways that are hard to remember and use consistently and correctly. The result is that most people use them incorrectly. I am forever correcting it in my students' work.

Furthermore, you can almost always replace the semi-colon with a full stop or dash. Therefore it is best to avoid them unless you are deliberately writing archaically. I agree that semi-colons allow more complex sentences. But complexity is bad. Good writing should strive for simplicity.
Though in my experience it helps the reader. Sure it's harder to remember when to use them, but the result is a sentence that flows far better than if it had been broken with a full stop.

Just a rebuttal.
Last edited by Maulrus; 1 year ago
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Rotax
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#5
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#5
Never used it because I never bothered to learn what the rule is for when to use one so I just always used commas or fullstops
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Maulrus
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Rotax)
Never used it because I never bothered to learn what the rule is for when to use one so I just always used commas or fullstops
In contemporary writing it is merely used to add a short clause related to the first one where you would normally put a full stop; it had many more uses back in the day however.

Note my use of the modern semicolon.
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Theloniouss
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#7
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#7
Semicolons are useful for lists with long items. Otherwise, they're unnecessary.
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Maulrus
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#8
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
Semicolons are useful for lists with long items. Otherwise, they're unnecessary.
Using them in a list is fairly rare. Though not technically incorrect, you would normally just use a normal colon follow by a series of commas separating the different objects, followed by 'and' plus the last object, then a full stop.

Example:
I went to buy: pears, dogs, cats, pears, water, juice, stock and stew.
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Theloniouss
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Maulrus)
Using them in a list is fairly rare. Though not technically incorrect, you would normally just use a normal colon follow by a series of commas separating the different objects, followed by 'and' plus the last object, then a full stop.

Example:
I went to buy: pears, dogs, cats, pears, water, juice, stock and stew.
Yeah, I know. If list elements contain commas semicolons are useful.
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gjd800
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#10
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#10
I use em like that all the time
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Quick-use
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#11
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(Original post by gjd800)
I use em like that all the time
Likewise. :hat2:
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Maulrus
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#12
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#12
(Original post by gjd800)
I use em like that all the time
(Original post by Quick-use)
Likewise. :hat2:
You are pioneers in your times good Sirs.
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