Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quote of the Week (Another Short Post):

"[It] finds its rightful home in the subtlety of a fine and rich analysis, one which is not afraid to pronounce - and sometimes to withhold - judgment where mere affirmation might be found wanting. It allows the writer to link ideas without breaking a train of thought; by contrast, over-simplified communication and bald, efficient discourse whose simplistic style is the best guarantee of being widely understood is naturally wary of [it]."

"It," of course, is the point-virgule, or semicolon. My PG-13 rated (for language; the author is British) source comes with a hat tip to the ever-excellent Marginal Revolution.

Not everyone is so fond of semicolons, though. From the same source, Kurt Vonnegut had this to say about them:

"They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

For my part, you may have noticed that I very seldom use them, though I often use a comma where a semicolon ought to be.

3 comments:

John Lynch said...

I personally love me the semicolons. Of course, my job requires me to use semicolons more often then periods, so maybe that's the reason why...

DaWheeze said...

Semicolons and I have a love-hate relationship. I like to use them, but often do it wrongly. I'm looking forward to my grammar class next semester...

die Amerikanerin said...

I should probably use semicolons more often, because I think I usually replace them incorrectly with periods.

Kurt Vonnegut's quote is amusing, because he is a prime example of the "over-simplified communication" and "bald, efficient discourse" referenced above. So it goes.