Second thoughts about that semicolon?

The Oatmeal explains how to do it right; all hail the wisdom of The Oatmeal!

P.S. The Oatmeal also has a handy dandy How To Use An Apostrophe guide. Go on, you know you want to send it to someone special right now.



Categories: Miscellaneous

Tags: ,

8 replies

  1. Now that I’ve seen that, I So. Want. Those. Posters. for my office. I’ll content myself with bookmarking the links and sending students in that direction as I hand back their first assignments * practices stern face * Otherwise this happens http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1319

  2. Well, I should be clear, I don’t literally do that – tempting as it is sometimes 😉

  3. *Sigh*. I rant about apostrophes EVERY semester. And every semester, I am, for the most part, ignored. I considered it a win this semester when I told the class they *must* include page numbers in references, and a student responded with ‘Oh! Really? I’m in third year and I didn’t even know that!’ Well, a win of a makes-me-boggle kind. I am always very proud of those students who master the semi-colon. Some of my ex-students are friends of mine on facebook, and they occasionally rhapsodise about the semi-colon ruling over all other punctuation; I’m inclined to agree. (Then again, I do think that there are usages where conjunctions can work post-semi-colon—as with full stops, as well—but they are specific, predominantly about style and difficult to explain to students who actually have no idea what a clause is. Or a full stop for that matter. I once had a paragraph-long sentence in an essay submitted to me. I found it quite troubling.)

  4. the posters are cute, but the apostrophe one is mistaken about writing dates being an exception to the possesive / contraction rule. You’d never write 90’s unless you were talking about something that belonged to 90.

  5. I was wondering about that one – although I have seen some arguments that it’s somehow so pervasive and well understood that it ought to be an exception, which I think is somewhere about Round #4286 of the Descriptive vs Prescriptive grammar wars.

  6. I think it’s trying to say that 90’s is wrong, but ’90s is correct, although it’s not very clear.

  7. Anna, that makes a lot more sense.

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