This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Post on Punctuation/Grammar (Part 2 is still in the drafting process).
I was exposed to Vonnegut at the ripe age of 12. It was an enlightening experience that has left me with a casual distaste for just about everything. Now whenever life gets a little too complicated I am forced to ask myself WWMHBKVJD (what would my home-boy Kurt Vonnegut Junior do). When considering the case of one specific piece of punctuation, Kurt made his feelings clear.
“Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”
Although Vonnegut’s word choice is less than ideal, he brings up a good point. The semicolon is the most pretentious piece of punctuation that has ever been created — the em-dash is a close second. The semicolon is basically a comma with a hat; it is basically the bastard child of two other pieces of punctuation that thinks it has a place in the royal blood line. Even the Wikipedia page for the punctuation mark seems confused as to the slurry of situations in which a semicolon may or may not be used.
In extending this line of reasoning, it becomes clear that Vonnegut would hate the following pieces of punctuation and symbols:
- The ellipsis!
- The colon
- The slash
- The ampersand
- The bullet & the ditto mark
- The pound/number sign
- The pilcrow…and the apostrophe
All these symbols are pretentious, and it is inexcusable to use them in writing.
The only piece of punctuation that is acceptable is the period. Its use is clear, and it stays true to itself. It is absolute, and more importantly it can’t be found wearing a monocle.
It’s time to go home semicolon, nobody likes you.