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Oh non! Le point-virgule!
Friday, April 4, 2008   11:50 AM

A post today at World of words directed me to a Guardian article on the decline of the semicolon — in France!

I find it hard to get worked up about this, seeing as the semicolon was making headlines here in America as recently as last February. I mean, just last night I was trying to decide what color Semicolon Appreciation Society T-shirt to order.

If you scroll down towards the end of the story, however, you'll find that the Guardian has assembled some interesting quotes under the heading "An elegant pause — or merely a 'pretentious comma'?" Kudos to Jonathan Franzen for this one:

I love a good semicolon, but this sounds like one of those Literature is Dead! stories that the New York Times likes to run. I've never heard from a reader confused by one of my semicolons, and I don't remember ever throwing a book aside for being semicolon-free.

Also, since I blogged about the Eats, Shoots & Leaves Curse yesterday, I should note that another mention of her book has tempted fate. This time the problem is an extraneous, incorrect — dare I say bad? — comma:

Labels: , ,

Thanks for the link. For what it's worth, I don't think the punctuation debate is particular new here (read: Europa) either. Still, good to know that the humble semicolon can still rouse passion. Good or bad!

Oh, and I emailed the Guardian about the errant comma you also spotted. No reply yet. Probably still checking their point-vigules.

Great blog by the way.

Hah, thanks.

I see that the Guardian hasn't silently corrected the story, so that comma will probably be there for good.

Not only is it a bad comma, but they apparently stole it from the following sentence. The horror!

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