Saturday, September 1, 2012

I love me a semicolon

Yesterday I discovered a coworker, a former coworker and a guy who I think would be funny to have as my coworker do not like semicolons. Worse, they want to rid the world of semicolons. Semicolons! It's the best punctuation out there. It's sharp, it's direct; you know exactly what it's telling you to do.

Plus, it is almost never misused. I suspect this is largely because people are intimidated by the semicolon and thus don't use it at all, but still — almost never misused. That's pretty good work.

However, if we're going to clean up the English language, I do have a few suggestions.
  1. Whom. Seriously, who says whom anymore? Who ever said whom? No one knows when you're actually supposed to use whom, so they don't use it. The only time whom gets play is when someone asks how to use it.
  2. The Oxford comma. You know that one I'm talking about — "Would you like fish, chicken, or beef?" You don't need the last comma! What is the Oxford comma afraid of, that you're going to think there's a dish called "chicken or beef" so the comma must be there to clearly separate the two? I can't eliminate commas entirely, but that one — I would kill it and not even feel bad.
  3. Passive voice. Hate. It.
  4. (I would say exclamation marks, but sometimes you need them to make a point. Same with caps lock, although I wish there was a computer app wherein you had to explain to FB/Twitter/Word/whatever why exactly you needed to use caps lock, and it would only approve that use if it was a legitimate reason. I will be the judge.)
All right, that's all for now. I move that we eliminate these pointless salvos of communication and then we can proceed to fix the rest of English.

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