28 Nov 2020

Semicolons; the most misunderstood punctuation mark

From Saturday Morning, 11:05 am on 28 November 2020

Whether you love them, hate them, or just don't know when to use them; the semicolon can be a divisive and contentious punctuation mark.

That's what Cecelia Watson discovered when she spent 10 years researching a book on what's claimed to be 'the most feared punctuation mark on earth'.

Watson is a historian, a philosopher of science, and a writing teacher who's currently Scholar in Residence at Bard College.

She traces the semicolon's birth to Venice in 1494. Since then it's been used, abused, and neglected by the likes of Henry James, Herman Melville, David Foster Wallace, and Martin Luther King.

Watson's book is called Semicolon: How a Misunderstood Punctuation Mark Can Improve Your Writing, Enrich Your Reading and Even Change Your Life.

Cecelia Watson

Cecelia Watson Photo: supplied