The first step is admitting I have an addiction; I’m addicted 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 such a beautiful day.

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 back, 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…

Weekly Round-up

August 26, 2011

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