Read Books By AWers!

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

editing for authors ad

A publisher or agency using Google ads to solicit your novel probably isn't anyone you want to write for.


Go Back   Absolute Write Water Cooler > Discussion > Grammar and Syntax
Register FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-23-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
Shadow Dragon
the philosophical pegasus
 
Shadow Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: In the land of dragons
Posts: 4,094
Shadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolnessShadow Dragon leaves trails of profuse coolness
Semicolons, the scariest punctuation on Earth.

This might be the best thing I've ever seen for teaching how to use the semicolon. It uses humor and doesn't come off like you're reading a stiff encyclopedia article.

Figured that it might help the newbies and some of the vets that have an issue with it.
__________________
"There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance." - Socrates
Shadow Dragon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2012, 05:34 PM   #2
Tepelus
.
 
Tepelus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 5,744
Tepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsTepelus is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I love The Oatmeal.
__________________

Cast Your Eyes On The Ocean,
Cast Your Soul To The Sea.
When The Dark Night Seems Endless,
Please Remember Me.


My Blog. You know you want to.
My deviantART page. I draw and photograph, too.
Tepelus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
trocadero
practical experience, FTW
 
trocadero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 650
trocadero is a shiny, shiny jeweltrocadero is a shiny, shiny jewel
That is really a fun page. I'm going to show it to my students. I don't quite understand the connection between the labels, images and the single sentence under 'Pause'. Next to 'semicolon' it has a sentence with a comma in it.

Looking forward to exploring the rest of the site. Thanks!
__________________
The blog

Last edited by trocadero; 12-23-2012 at 09:14 PM.
trocadero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2012, 08:33 PM   #4
Chase
begins with . . .
 
Chase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Albany, Oregon
Posts: 4,716
Chase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Oatmeal's examples for semicolon uses are terrific; not so much its early grade school analogies linking some punctuation to magical pauses for breath.

Emory University Writing Center is typical in de-mythifying one of the many punctuation misconceptions Oatmeal perpetuates with commas, semicolons, and colons:

Myth: You should add a comma wherever you pause.

Fact: Where you pause or breathe in a sentence does not reliably indicate where a comma belongs. Different readers pause or breathe in different places.

The myth-buster holds true for semicolons. Like commas, they are only indicators of internal sentence structure for easier reading.

As the old fiction disclaimer goes, any similarity to breathing in placing commas or semicolons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Chase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2012, 03:36 AM   #5
CChampeau
The ever absent-minded
 
CChampeau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: U.S.
Posts: 318
CChampeau is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase View Post

Emory University Writing Center is typical in de-mythifying one of the many punctuation misconceptions Oatmeal perpetuates with commas, semicolons, and colons:

Myth: You should add a comma wherever you pause.

Fact: Where you pause or breathe in a sentence does not reliably indicate where a comma belongs. Different readers pause or breathe in different places.

The myth-buster holds true for semicolons. Like commas, they are only indicators of internal sentence structure for easier reading. [bold added]
I added the bold since this is the most important point in understanding how to use commas and semicolons; they're purely grammatical in nature. And I just used a semicolon properly. Semicolons basically define a new sentence, but differ from a period because they imply that the preceding clause (previous sentence) logically leads into the next clause. For example:
"It's late. We should go home,"
and
"It's late; we should go home,"
are both grammatically correct, but have a different flavor. The latter one emphasizes the connection between the two clauses: "it's late", therefore, "we should go home."

Semicolons are not strictly necessary in prose. You'd be better off doing away with them than using them where it doesn't feel natural, IMO.
__________________
C. Champeau

"The truth will set you free."
CChampeau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-24-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
Chase
begins with . . .
 
Chase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Albany, Oregon
Posts: 4,716
Chase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
No disagreement, CC.
Chase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2012, 10:09 PM   #7
phantasy
Let me tell you a Story...
 
phantasy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 684
phantasy has a spectacular aura
I worry about semicolons because I feel I'd rather use a comma. But I'm not sure if my sentence is correct that way.
phantasy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2013, 11:00 PM   #8
evilrooster
Wicked chicken
AW Moderator
 
evilrooster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Where eggs are small and dear
Posts: 2,494
evilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I've added the Oatmeal page to the list of useful grammar references on the web. Thanks, Shadow Dragon! (Also, apologies for being so damn slow to get to it.)
__________________
An excerpt from Bigglethwaite & Windemere's Manual of Proper and Exquisite English on the Capitalisation of Historical Events.

The capitalisation of historical terms is a matter of concern to many writers. The rule, though simple, requires and reveals the writer's judgment, opinions, and preconceptions, and should be applied with care:

  1. Matters of absolute importance should be capitalised.
  2. Matters of no wider historical import should have only their proper nouns capitalised.
  3. Matters which the author not only considers insignificant, but wishes had never occurred, should have all words rendered in lower-case.
  4. If the writer looks upon history as a kind of fantastical territory, and wishes to assert either that it is wildly unlikely or highly distorted, all matters that can be considered nouns of any sort should be capitalised

B&W 2:14
evilrooster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2013, 12:13 AM   #9
blacbird
That hairy-handed gent
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Who ran amok in Kent
Posts: 29,070
blacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by phantasy View Post
I worry about semicolons because I feel I'd rather use a comma. But I'm not sure if my sentence is correct that way.
The semicolon is not a substitute for a comma, and vice versa. They are used for entirely separate purposes.

Again I recommend the Purdue OWL:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/566/01/

caw
__________________
Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!
blacbird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 10:33 PM   #10
Chase
begins with . . .
 
Chase's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Albany, Oregon
Posts: 4,716
Chase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChase is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
Again I recommend the Purdue OWL: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/566/01/
I agree wholeheartedly with the birds. The owl is good; the owl is wise.

The myth of breaths to indicate comma placement advanced by Oatmeal's cartoons is almost as harmful as the old first-aid myths to cut open rattlesnake bites and suck out the poison or to slather butter on burns.
Chase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 12:56 AM   #11
ElJeffe
figuring it all out
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 82
ElJeffe is on a distinguished road
I have this weird relationship with semicolons, in which I love-love-love them in my informal writing - forum posts, emails, and whatnot - but virtually never use them in my fiction.
ElJeffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2013, 06:24 AM   #12
blacbird
That hairy-handed gent
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Who ran amok in Kent
Posts: 29,070
blacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsblacbird is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
On semicolons (from a teacher of university English composition classes):

1. They are used, properly, to separate two units of prose that could stand alone as independent sentences, but are closely-enough related to be connected within a single-sentence structure.

2. They are not strictly necessary. You can separate the two independent portions with a period, and let them stand as single sentences.

3. A comma is NOT a proper or acceptable substitute for a semicolon, and vice-versa.

4. If you are uncomfortable with, or uncertain about the proper use of a semicolon, don't use one. Just make independent stand-alone sentences.

5. Don't overuse the semicolon. It is the habañero pepper of punctuation marks to many people (including editors, whom I will bunch with the larger category of people for the purpose of this comment). Too many will definitely make the dish unpalatable.

caw
__________________
Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!
blacbird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 11:38 AM   #13
Roden Addison
Conscious Competent.
 
Roden Addison's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: I live a relatively rustic lifestyle in northern BC, Canada. Good fishing, good hunting.
Posts: 26
Roden Addison is on a distinguished road
The Bible when written had no capitalization, no periods, no commas, no punctuation of any kind. Think its hard to understand now?
__________________
If at first you don't succeed—you're about average.

The Widow: A Romantic, Erotic Western
Roden Addison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2013, 11:14 PM   #14
Rbrown8384
New Fish; Exploring the Written Sea
 
Rbrown8384's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Antelope, CA
Posts: 203
Rbrown8384 is on a distinguished road
"Stroke them... DO IT!"

LOL

Thank you for the share; it was a good read!
Rbrown8384 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2013, 01:13 PM   #15
evilrooster
Wicked chicken
AW Moderator
 
evilrooster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Where eggs are small and dear
Posts: 2,494
evilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsevilrooster is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roden Addison View Post
The Bible when written had no capitalization, no periods, no commas, no punctuation of any kind. Think its hard to understand now?
Well, technically, some of the early drafts of the New Testament did include punctuation marks. But punctuation at that time was kind of an optional extra, and copyists omitted it to save space and ink. As far as I am aware, the Old Testament was written without punctuation, word breaks, or, indeed, vowels.

But in both cases, unpunctuated text was standard. Readers didn't really expect punctuation, and were perfectly comfortable interpreting texts that omitted it. That's not the same as leaving out the punctuation in modern English, where readers do expect and rely on it.

An analogy: Aristophanes of Byzantium invented a set of diacritics (accents and breath marks) to help non-native speakers read Greek texts. The accents marked where a speaker would use a rising or falling tone when pronouncing a word. A rough equivalent in English would be if it became the practice to mark word stress and dieresis* in written text.

We don't do that. If someone introduced it in the future, só thát áll óur próse inclúded diäcrítics, wóuld thát méan thát éarliër, unmárked téxt wás "hárd tó understánd"?

Also, we are breezing right by any discussion of the content of the Bible in this room. There are other rooms on AW for that.

----
* Note that in Dutch, dieresys is marked using a "trema": Daniel is spelled Daniël, because ie is a very different sound in Dutch than i+e. Indeed, English used to mark it as well: coöperative only lost its diacritic very recently.
__________________
An excerpt from Bigglethwaite & Windemere's Manual of Proper and Exquisite English on the Capitalisation of Historical Events.

The capitalisation of historical terms is a matter of concern to many writers. The rule, though simple, requires and reveals the writer's judgment, opinions, and preconceptions, and should be applied with care:

  1. Matters of absolute importance should be capitalised.
  2. Matters of no wider historical import should have only their proper nouns capitalised.
  3. Matters which the author not only considers insignificant, but wishes had never occurred, should have all words rendered in lower-case.
  4. If the writer looks upon history as a kind of fantastical territory, and wishes to assert either that it is wildly unlikely or highly distorted, all matters that can be considered nouns of any sort should be capitalised

B&W 2:14

Last edited by evilrooster; 01-30-2013 at 03:45 PM. Reason: pút óne diäcrític márk ón thé wróng sýllable
evilrooster is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Custom Search

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)


All times are GMT +4.5. The time now is 05:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.