While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Punctuation Station

Interesting piece from The Guardian on the death of the semi-colon, or point-virgule if you're French:

Upmarket it may be; it will be hard work to save it. As the great grammarian Jacques Drillon concedes in his seminal Traité de la ponctuation française, it is almost certainly "the fear of using it incorrectly" that is contributing most to the point-virgule's demise. Not even a bold assertion from Alain Rey, perhaps France's most famous language expert and editor of the Robert dictionary, that good punctuation "transcends the political divide" and is "the symbol of a republic that reasons properly" may, in the end, protect the point-virgule from the inexorable march of Anglo-Saxon inelegance.

I fall into the Against category on this one, with, surprise surprise, Kurt Vonnegut:

"If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

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