Itâ€™s time for a showdown on the semicolon.
In the blue corner, we have those who see semicolons as the devilâ€™s work: indecisive and pretentious, according to Guy Bergstrom.
In the red corner, many others hail them as the shining star of punctuation. Bristol University describes a situation that only the â€˜mighty semicolonâ€™ can unravel, and says it allows you to express yourself with â€˜more subtlety and precision than ever before.â€™
Where do I stand?
Checking, back I realise this is the 61st post Iâ€™ve written for this blog, and the grand total of semicolons Iâ€™ve used so far has reached the heady total ofâ€¦ none at all. Zero. Nada.
That says it all. Semicolons look fancy, but if even a few readers are going to get confused by them, then you should find a way to write your sentence without resorting to their use. That holds double if any of your readers donâ€™t have English as their first language.
Iâ€™ve got nothing against semicolons in principle, but almost always Iâ€™d argue against using them on grounds of clarity.