Semicolon A Page Turning, Existential Romp Through The Life And Times Of The World S Most Polarizing Punctuation MarkThe Semicolon Stephen King, Hemingway, Vonnegut, And Orwell Detest It Herman Melville, Henry James, And Rebecca Solnit Love It But Why When Is It Effective Have We Been Misusing It Should We Even Care In Semicolon, Cecelia Watson Charts The Rise And Fall Of This Infamous Punctuation Mark, Which For Years Was The Trendiest One In The World Of Letters But In The Nineteenth Century, As Grammar Books Became All The Rage, The Rules Of How We Use Language Became Both Stricter And Confusing, With The Semicolon A Prime Victim Taking Us On A Breezy Journey Through A Range Of Examples From Milton S Manuscripts To Martin Luther King Jr S Letters From Birmingham Jail To Raymond Chandler S The Big Sleep Watson Reveals How Traditional Grammar Rules Make Us Less Successful At Communicating With Each Other Than We D Think Even The Most Die Hard Grammar Fanatics Would Be Better Served By Tossing The Rule Books And Learning A Better Way To Engage With LanguageThrough Her Rollicking Biography Of The Semicolon, Watson Writes A Guide To Grammar That Explains Why We Don T Need Guides At All, And Refocuses Our Attention On The Deepest, Most Primary Value Of Language True Communication

Cecelia is a historian and philosopher of science, and a teacher of writing and the humanities She is currently part of Bard College s Faculty in Language and Thinking Previously she was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow at Yale University, where she was jointly appointed in the Humanities and Philosophy departments Prior to that, she was a researcher at the Max Planck

!!> Reading ➻ Semicolon  ➳ Author Cecelia Watson –
  • Audiobook
  • 4 pages
  • Semicolon
  • Cecelia Watson
  • 27 March 2019
  • 9780062917935

10 thoughts on “Semicolon

  1. says:

    The semicolon has to undoubtedly be the most divisive and misunderstood punctuation mark in history, closely followed by the Oxford comma In Semicolon, Ms Watson discusses the history, use, misuse and powerful impact the semicolon can have on a person s writing A famously tricky method of punctuation scares some, and hence why many shy away from even attempting to use it But, here, the author shows just how simple and effective it can be.The author has managed to make a rather dry topic quite lighthearted and entertaining through wit and humour that is interspersed throughout It is clearly extensively researched as all the information seems to be sound, and it s actually pretty fascinating Highly recommended to those who are sticklers for correct grammar and punctuation and those who wish to know about the semicolon Many thanks to 4th Estate for an ARC.

  2. says:

    How should one go about writing a pop scientific book that is solely about the semicolon Is it best to be bone dry and scientific, as with most dictionaries, or bone dry and severely funny, as with Benjamin Dreyer s Dreyer s English Thankfully, Cecelia Watson approaches this nerdy subject with both clerical adroitness and humour, and she constructs all of this chronologically From the start of her book How did the semicolon, once regarded with admiration, come to seem so offensive, so unwieldy, to so many people Asking this question might seem academic in all the worst ways what practical value could there be in mulling punctuation, and in particular its history, when we have efficiently slim guidebooks like Strunk and White s The Elements of Style and thick reference volumes like The Chicago Manual of Style to set straight our misplaced colons and commas We have rules for this sort of thing But rule based punctuation guides are a relatively recent invention.Indeed, the beginning of the book is the beginnings yes, plural of grammar, and Watson pulls this off by being discreet and funny at the same time Courts of law, too, were in a lather over how to deal with punctuation marks a semicolon in an 1875 legal statute caused all of Boston to fly into a panic when courts opined that the semicolon meant that alcohol couldn t be served past 11 00 P.M Bostonians, ever resourceful, devised some pretty clever ways to get drunk well into the wee hours until the statute was finally revised six years after it went into force That story brings the semicolon and how people perceive it to life Watson s view on linguistic rules is both sane and open I wouldn t deny that there s joy in knowing a set of grammar rules there is always joy in mastery of some branch of knowledge But there is much joy in becoming a reader who can understand and explain how it is that a punctuation mark can create meaning in language that goes beyond just delineating the logical structure of a sentence.Watson s use of examples, both in terms of style and real life legal wrangles, are illuminating, informative, scary, and funny Here s one magnificent example of legal issues due to a missing semicolon or, begrudgingly agreed, a rewrite A particularly heart wrenching case that was tried on the cusp of the Great Depression painfully illustrates the problems that can be caused by a missing semicolon In 1927, two men were convicted of murder in New Jersey.The jury s verdict and sentencing recommendation was written as follows We find the defendant, Salvatore Merra, guilty of murder in the first degree, and the defendant, Salvatore Rannelli, guilty of murder in the first degree and recommend life imprisonment at hard labor The judge interpreted the life imprisonment recommendation as applicable only to Rannelli, since that recommendation followed only the repetition of guilty of murder in the first degree after Rannelli s name Using this reasoning, the judge sentenced Salvatore Merra to death for the same crime.In an eleventh hour appeal, Merra s lawyer and New Jersey senator Alexander Simpson argued that the jury meant the life imprisonment recommendation to apply to both men otherwise, the jurors would surely have used a semicolon to separate their verdict on Merra from their verdict on Rannelli, so that the verdict would have read We find the defendant, Salvatore Merra, guilty of murder in the first degree and the defendant, Salvatore Rannelli, guilty of murder in the first degree and recommend life imprisonment at hard labor The prosecution, on the other hand, countered that the jury clearly intended for Merra to die.Watson goes through punctuation, grammar, and style by examining text and sayings by authors, for example, Irvine Welsh, Raymond Chandler, and Herman Melville.Speaking of the latter, Moby Dick contains around 210,000 words and 4000 semicolons one for every 52 words, of which Watson notes that t he semicolons are Moby Dick s joints, allowing the novel the freedom of movement it needed to tour such a large and disparate collection of themes There s a particularly wondrous dissing of David Foster Wallace, the author who is by many white men considered to be The Golden Child of the 21st century where language is concerned Watson not only disses his because form of logic stance on Standard written English, but also of his oft failed grammar It s fun to see, albeit a tad strange to see her rant go on for as long as it does.All in all, this is a fun book to read Watson has chosen to balance stories of grammatical rules and real life examples of how the semicolon has been used and abused , framing it all in neat paragraphs that stand out, simply because they re valuable If this is a sign of things to come from this author, I will keep eyes peeled.

  3. says:

    The title indicates this is a book all about semicolons, but grammar grammar manuals the teaching of grammar whether punctuation in general is a part of language and whether there should be rules for punctuation and grammar, and if they should be followed are also addressed There is also chapter devoted to style and the use of semicolons by authors as diverse as Henry Melville and Raymond Chandler, and how effectively these semicolons are used.I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review, and appreciate the opportunity.

  4. says:

    A fun read for grammar and punctuation nerds and a nice reminder about how language rules are created by those with power and enforced as a means to maintain that power.Audio was a little weird, insomuch as sidebars were sometimes prefaced as such but were ended every single time with return to text The inconsistency was confusing than understanding without any introduction what the aside was.

  5. says:

    kept me up until 5am watson has a subtle seductive prose that brings to life fundamental philosophical issues of language that go far beyond punctuation this book is absolutely worth your time

  6. says:

    Professor Cecelia Watson informs us that the semicolon originated in Italy as an aid to clarity in the fifteenth century Paul Robinson, a humanities professor at Stanford, dismissed the semicolon as a pretentious mark used chiefly to gloss over an imprecise thought In addition, George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut discoursed on its ugliness, or irrelevance, or both Ms Watson, a historian, has written a book that is ostensibly about the semicolon However, it is also about the past, present, and future of the English language.In Semicolon, Watson shows that punctuation matters In fact, it can have legal ramifications, in cases ranging from liquor laws in Boston to the possible execution of a prisoner In the realm of literature, the author discusses Herman Melville, who used semicolons than four thousand times in Moby Dick, and Raymond Chandler, who rarely used semicolons in his Philip Marlowe books, but did employ them to fine effect in his essays Disagreements concerning grammar and punctuation can become heated An infuriated Mark Twain, for example, castigated proofreaders who had the temerity to tinker with his meticulous prose.Watson believes that, although rules of usage, grammar, and syntax should not be thrown into the rubbish bin, we must recognize that language is continuously evolving There is less emphasis nowadays on a one size fits all approach to communicating ideas In this humorous, clever, scholarly, and thought provoking book, Watson pays tribute to the versatility and flexibility of English and asks us to ponder how budding writers can best learn to have control and mastery over language She focuses on the controversial semicolon, a handy but much vilified tool that, when employed judiciously, can inject liveliness and musicality into one s writing Watson includes a wonderful excerpt from Martin Luther King s Letter from a Birmingham Jail that demonstrates how well placed semicolons can elevate a fine passage into one that is timeless, moving, and extraordinarily powerful The bottom line is that we cannot judge the value of punctuation in a vacuum, but by how well it shapes the text in which it s situated.

  7. says:

    Do you know how the semicolon should be used Or when it started appearing What was the first manuscript we can spot it in These are only some of the questions Cecelia Watson answers for this less than favorite punctuation mark In this book, you re going to find an extensive history of when, how, and why semicolon appeared, as well as how to properly use it And, who knows Maybe by the end of this book you ll be fond of this misunderstood punctuation mark The only thing I know for sure, is that you ll be able to use it correctly Semicolon is a very interesting and well researched book As a copy editor, I found it extremely helpful, and will be revisiting it for reference But it s also a book for the wider public anyone interested in language will take great enjoyment in reading this.

  8. says:

    Semicolon brings you on a journey not only about the Semicolon but also grammar and punctuation It demonstrates that the English language is one that fluctuates, shifts and develops as a response to its cultural context, suggesting that the rules of a language changes similarly instead of being rigid Filled with short stories about the controversy semicolons have sparked within legal matters, academics and the general public, Watson uncovers where confusion surrounding this punctuation mark arose from Thank you to Edelweiss for providing a free Advanced Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

  9. says:

    An interesting take and an in depth look at the punctuation mark that haunts the literary and English speaking world alike Cecilia Watson has brought us a book designated to those of us who just can t quite figure out how we feel about the semicolon.

  10. says:

    Worth reading if only for the full throated attack on David Foster Wallace in the penultimate chapter attacked not for his use of semicolons, but for his failure to question the privilege and arrogance in his embrace of standard written English A wonderful capstone moment to a thoroughly entertaining book.

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