Monday, February 18, 2008

The ; Lives!

This NYTimes story scores high on unintentional humor (though I'm not really sure it's unintentional):
It was nearly hidden on a New York City Transit public service placard exhorting subway riders not to leave their newspaper behind when they get off the train. "Please put it in a trash can," riders are reminded. After which Neil Neches, an erudite writer in the transit agency's marketing and service information department, inserted a semicolon. The rest of the sentence reads, "that's good news for everyone." ... Geoffrey Nunberg, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, praised the "burgeoning of punctuational literacy in unlikely places."
I, for one, use semicolons frequently; the ability to juxtapose thoughts in writing as seamlessly as in speech is invaluable.

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