Ribbon Candy and Semi-Colons

Posted by on Dec 4, 2008 in Writing | 7 comments

ribboncandyNewly discovered holiday treat that I’ve been eating for the past few days instead of healthy snacks: ye old-fashioned ribbon candy.

That said, maybe I’m feeling better because I’m motivated to complain about something other than my dire finances, 9-to-5 jobs, loss of dreams, and every other Debbie-Downer thing that plagues me. Or, maybe I’m not better and this is a welcome distraction (like ribbon candy).

Here’s the rant: semi-colons.

How mundane is that? Maybe this is all I’m capable of at the moment, complaining about semi-colons. And when I say this, I mean my semi-colons. I can’t believe myself. I let my manuscript go out with hundreds of semi-colons? Is this why the editors rejected it?

So, here I am, reading through the manuscript before sending it to Nice Agent for a look-see; making minor changes along the way (scary how there’s always room for improvement); and all I’m seeing are semi-colons. Everywhere; for no reason; they’re out of control and annoying like ants at a picnic. See; what; I; mean?

What the bleep was I thinking?

Seems like I’d finally figured out how cool semi-colons were and took them too far. Like discovering eye liner back in high school and assuming that if a little goes a long way, more is better; or, like spritzing on perfume then adding two more squirts just in case; or, like feeling great after the first cosmo and sucking down three more because you can. 

So, was that correct semi-colon usage? Someone, tell me, because I don’t know anymore!


  1. I can’t say whether it was correct or not… but my neighbor would know. She’s old enough to have had a thorough grounding in the English language and ended up teaching at Mississippi State (or was it Ol’ Miss?). In any case, my weakness isn’t semi-colons but the dot… dot… dot; that, and writing “In any case” far too often.

  2. Semi colons are a different degree of pause from a comma; they separate two complete sentences.

  3. P.S. Glad you’re feeling better.

  4. Eh, don’t let the semi-colons get you down. I call one of my writer friends the Comma Queen, because she is. She loves those commas and uses them like mad.

    And yet, she’s published. More published than I am by now, and I am no comma abuser, I’ll tell you. Don’t worry about ’em.

  5. Hi Tanya, hah! I’ve noticed a few “in any case”s in my time too!

    Liz–ah…See you tomorrow!

  6. Lisa,
    You are so funny! Your “rant” could be published as is – I feel your pain, although I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Stop second guessing yourself!

  7. Hi Caroline…I definitely do second guess myself when it comes to the writing — so frustrating! Thanks!

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