Overwhelmed, thank you!

I was overwhelmed by the response to my interview with a semicolon. Being “freshly pressed” brought the controversy to many more readers than I ever would have imagined. It’s hard to believe that a piece about punctuation could bring out such passion, but there you have it—bloggers are passionate about communication and therefore passionate about punctuation.

It’s reassuring to note that everyone who commented was an advocate of semicolons; if that’s any gauge, the likelihood of their fading into the sunset is slight despite the trend shown in the graph below (click on the image for a clearer copy, and note the recent uptick!).

English: A graph showing the frequency of semi...

A graph showing the frequency of semicolon use in English between 1500 and 2008. Data is from the Google Books corpus. The graph was created using the Google Books Ngram Viewer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were also a few comments about other outliers in the grammar world: the overused exclamation mark, the frivolous comma, the daunting dash and the lowly adverb. These may need their own space in their own time.

Thank you to all who viewed, commented, liked, or followed my blog; I will try to live up to your expectations.

P.S.: I shared your feedback with Semicolon. He emailed back from his publicity tour: “I am heartened that my plea was so well received. I have always lived by the words of E.M. Forster: ‘Only connect…’  I see that your readers live by the same wisdom. Thank you.”


Filed under Commentary

15 responses to “Overwhelmed, thank you!

  1. Tammy J Rizzo

    Semicolon is wise to quote Forster; you were wiser in procuring that wonderful interview.

  2. It was a great post — I shared it with my students.

  3. Could you do the world a favour and write a blog about when to use “your” and “you’re”? It drives me insane when people write “Your welcome” for instance. The apostrophe has a role dammit!

  4. The graph was so interesting. Especially the sudden sharp peak in 1660. I’m going to have to investigate that. (Or maybe the semicolon family was just particularly fertile that year!).

    • I suspect the spiking of the line in the early years reflects the fewer data sources available (books), so when a major writer started using semicolons there was a big spike.

  5. The adverb! Criminally over looked!

  6. runningonsober

    Hi Tom, I’m delighted to have found you. It appears the semicolon has the amazing power to connect people as well.

    I look forward to following your work,

  7. I do like that devilishly daunting dash fellow.

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