When I shifted from public school to Catholic school to private school, one thing that remained consistent was my desire to please my teachers. I admit it; I was a total nerd back in the days when “nerd” was not as auspicious a label to have as it is now. One day, my 9th grade English teacher, weary of poor grammar and spelling, offered to give one extra credit point for each proper use of a semicolon in our assignments. In response, I did the following: reviewed the punctuation rules; wrote my paper on how we should actually pity rather than condemn Grendel’s mother for having lost her son to the cruel Beowulf; and tested the waters with a single semicolon. SUCCESS! Before I knew it, I was addicted; I once managed to squeeze no less than ten semicolons in a single page of homework on the subject of foreshadowing in Wuthering Heights. The result? A whopping 110%! Top of the class, baybeeee!
Recently, a friend of mine shared a link to a set of brilliant and informative instructions on how to use a semicolon. I found that the writing was clear; the graphics were illustrative; and the examples were sublime. If the line “dinosaurs are all about high fives” doesn’t grab Yasmine’s attention and the line “Godzilla is a misunderstood creature; beneath his raging desire to set people on fire and eat them lies a gentle giant who just wants to cuddle” doesn’t grab Gojira’s attention, then I don’t know what will.
Hat tip: Nazia