December Read: Semicolon

This week’s read: Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson. I used to tell my students that I was probably the only mathematics professor who used semicolons in his lectures. I don’t know if that’s true, though I never saw another professor do it in all the evaluations I sat through over the years. I have always loved semicolons, though my fond view of them is not held by all. Kurt Vonnegut, for instance, once advised, “Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” In Semicolon, Watson provides a brief history of the origin and ultimate acceptance of the semicolon, while also offering interesting cases of confusion caused by misplaced, misread, or absent semicolons. Read more about or purchase at Amazon.

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