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semicolonDo you use semi-colons in your writing?

Or were you – like me – taught in elementary school that the semi-colon is a half-extinct sort of thing, more stubborn than a comma and weaker than a full stop, and therefore good for nothing but to divide the items in a list?

As a result, I’ve spent the last thirty-five years more or less ignoring the semi-colon. If I ever thought about the poor thing at all, it was to imagine it shrinking and insecure, nibbling at its nail (do punctuation marks have nails?), wondering whether a pause/connection was quite right to step up – and being invariably elbowed out of the way by a comma or a full stop.

Then Emma Darwin wrote this lovely post on her blog, and my view of the semi-colon altered drastically.  I just never had thought of its expressive potential – now I’m experimenting with it. Always a nice kind of change, I find.

And while you are there, have a look around Emma’s blog; her posts never fail to offer food for thought.