I have battled with the semicolon for much of my life, from way back in my grammar school days, to my current writing practice. I personally believe they are ugly little things that have no place on a page of beautiful words. Although I have seen some rather stunning handwritten pages with very attractive semicolons, I tend to agree with Kurt Vonnegut’s views:
“they are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”
Writer and blogger Tom Gething interviewed the semicolon in this blog post, I recommend it.
Cormac McCarthy is another author who does not use semicolons. He talks about this in an interview with Oprah. In the interview he names James Joyce as an example that good writing requires minimal punctuation. Sometimes a writer will avoid semicolons, but have rather more short sentences than I would like. Too many periods can make for a bit of a rough read, but they beat semicolons any day.
Sorry dear semicolon, I think your days are numbered and that you have earned your place in writing museums around the world.
Of course, your views as always are welcome, and if anyone who wants to defend this controversial wee squiggle, please do so. I am always ready to listen up for the underdog.