My Dear Semicolon:


My Dear Semicolon,

As an English teacher, writer, and aficionado of language in general, I’d be lost without all of you, my dear marks of punctuation; I savor the subtle differences you tiny marks make in my writing. I try to love you all equally; however, I find that you, my dear oft misunderstood semicolon, have a special place in my heart; who else can do the heavy work of a period–you deftly hold two distinct sentences apart–while still showing the close relationship between the thoughts therein? I could never get along without you; you’re the glue holding together even my most meandering thoughts.

periodI appreciate Period; really, I do. Period is just so harsh, sometimes, though; she’s so unwilling to let my thoughts continue to wander on down the page. When she says it’s over, it’s over. I’ll admit our friend Comma is very helpful; I don’t know what I’d do withoutcomma him; all the same, he can be a bit wishy-washy; he also tends to bring too many friends when he’s invited over. He’s so much weaker than you, my dear Semi-colon; Comma doesn’t have the strength to hold apart compete sentences without the help of a conjunction; if he gets too many of his family together in a row, we all just get confused; you have to come sort out the mess.

exclamation point shouts 2Exclamation Point gets on my nerves with her constant histrionics; is it really that important; did we have to raise our voices? Timid little Question Mark has his place; I seek a more definitive world, though. Mr. Colon is so very question markformal–don’t you agree? Colon is so proud of his place in telling time; and perhaps it would be difficult to write business correspondence or set off lists without him, but business correspondence is so boring, don’t you agree?

quotation marksNow we have a few problems in the Mark family to address. I’m sure you will agree; something has to be done about Apostrophe. She seems to want to stick her tail in everywhere; I’m seeing people writing their’s, for goodness sake! Meanwhile, she goes on occasional strike for use in possessive nouns.  Dash and Hypen think they’re so exotic; they do have their places, but not as often as they try to convince the novice writer. The Twins, Parentheses, keep trying to take over Comma’s work on appositives. (I don’t know how many times I’ve had to send them packing lately.) Of course, you know the quotation marksmost egregious offenders, Dear Semicolon, are the Quotation Marks. They keep throwing themselves around words just to show off. I’ve told them time and time again that they indicate sarcasm or irony, not emphasis, but they’re “too busy” to listen.

heart and flowersSo, my Dear Semicolon, I hope you won’t tell the other Marks what I’ve said. I needed to vent some of my frustrations; who could follow my sometimes labyrinthine thoughts better than you? I also needed to let you know: I simply couldn’t write without you!

Whimsically yours,






Today’s Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By the Dots” was practically designed for the English teacher in me!

“We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!”

13 thoughts on “My Dear Semicolon:

  1. Strangely, I have been talking about semi-colons a lot lately. This is because I have noticed a trend in my university students: they are using semicolons all the time, but using them wrongly. Someone has told them to put a semi-colon after a dependent clause or before a list! No doubt people have always been doing this, but it seems to have escalated in frequency this year. When used properly, I agree it is a beautiful mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do really like using semi-colons, but it is such an abused mark. I thought the poor thing needed some TLC! I, too, see my students trying to put it before a list. I’m dismayed that they’re still mistreating poor Semicolon at the university level.

      Liked by 1 person

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