The first step is admitting I have a problem…so I’m admitting my addiction to the semicolon.

The semicolon. Just look at it. ;

It is just alluring and exotic compared to the comma. I know most of the time a comma will do. Most of the time a comma is correct, but I just can’t help myself.

I know the rules.

I can use a semicolon in place of a period to separate two sentences where the conjunction has been left out.

For example: I love the semicolon; it is beautiful.

I can use it before an introductory words when they introduce a list following a complete thought.

For example: As a writer, I use many tools; for example, the semicolon, a thesaurus, my laptop, and Word.

I can even use one between two sentences joined by a conjunction when one or more commas appear in the first sentence.

For example:  When I finish this blog about semicolons, I am going to walk the dogs; and it is a beautiful day for a walk.

However  I end up using it way more than that. Other Systems was on draft #7 when I decided it was ready to go into the world. That’s not necessarily surprising. My early drafts are very free thought oriented. Then I go back and clean it up. Normally people don’t see anything until draft #3 at least. Draft #5 is often better.

Prior to me sending the manuscript out, I checked for the biggie mistakes I and other writers often make. It’s/its, then/than and the semicolons. I must have pulled out 50 semicolons.

Now that I am in the middle of the editing process, my poor editor has found and cut at least 50 more. I am not exaggerating. There was not a chapter that he didn’t pull out a few. He added two. Microsoft Word’s grammar check keeps trying to add a few, but I will put faith in the editor’s skill, before I trust the computer.

So I admitted my problem with the semicolon.  I also love the em dash, but that is a whole other blog…

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Great blog. I’m with you on drafts–usually at least 3-5. I will not use a semi-colon here.
    Les

    Reply

    • Thank you. On my first novel, I made the mistake of showing my best friend (Maria–the other side of ZB Publications) and my mom my first draft. Maria barely got through it, my mom got to chapter 2.

      Reply

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