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Punctuation and Professionalism: Semicolons

This video introduces the professionalism of using semicolons.

For more on semicolons:


The Most Feared Punctuation Mark on Earth (The Oatmeal, 2020)


Divide and Conquer (Revisionist History Podcast, 2018)

Some people have helpfully flagged an error in one of the slides. It involves the misidentification of the author listed below. Post the correct author name in Comments.

  • Mary Sue Evans

Here are some additional pieces of advice about using semicolons. Post your favorite in Comments.

1. “Used well, the semicolon makes a powerful impression; misused, it betrays your ignorance.”

—Mary Norris, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (2015)

2. “[William] James’s paragraphs, as lucid and unpretentious as can be, are divided and subdivided, as intricately structured as the anatomical diagrams he includes in ‘Psychology: Briefer Course.’ Semicolons, along with exclamation points and dashes and whole sackfuls of commas, are, for him, vital tools in keeping what he called the ‘stream of thought’ from appearing to the reader as a wild torrent.”

—Ben Dolnick, “Semicolons: A Love Story” (2012)

3. “Think of the semicolon as a long comma, or a wimpy period.”

—Merrill Perlman, To Semicolon, or Not to Semicolon (2015)

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