I’ve been fond of semicolons since before I clearly understood their purpose; I’m even fonder of them now.

A sentence, after all, is the expression of a thought, and complex thoughts sometimes cannot be expressed in simple sentences. When we want to show connections between ideas, we need punctuation that can signal how one clause is related to another.

My favorite, for a long time now, has been the em-dash — nothing beats its versatility, and nearly every reader intuits its meaning right away. The semicolon and colon (and parentheses) are IMO more useful in nonfiction writing, where we dare demand more patience and closer attention from our readers.

Thank you for taking the time and expending the effort to consider punctuation in these days when far to many writers can’t be bothered even to learn when they need a comma.

Retired psychologist, wordsmith, teacher, MFA candidate. Buy me coffee: ko-fi.com/edrobson. ecrobson@gmail.com

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