Tuesday, February 19, 2008

of interest to aspiring editors

An article in the New York Times is dedicated a single instance of the use of a semi-colon:

“Please put it in a trash can,” riders are reminded. After which Neil Neches, an erudite writer in the transit agency’s marketing and service information department, inserted a semicolon. The rest of the sentence reads, “that’s good news for everyone.”
I haven't heard this quote from Kurt Vonnegut before, but I really like it:
“When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life,” Kurt Vonnegut once said. “Old age is more like a semicolon.”
The article is like the who's who of punctuation. Lynne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves), Noam Chomsky and New Yorker staffers all comment. People sure got excited about that semi-colon!

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