Why is certain punctuation no longer popular? When it comes to writing, everyone recognizes that there are trends. The language and description that went into a book in the 1800s is considered too much detail for today’s reading audience. This year one genre might hit it big, while another year some other type of novel will be popular. What I find interesting is that even punctuation goes in and out of style.

I happen to like the semicolon. It’s not only a legitimate mark of punctuation; it serves a useful purpose. Don’t believe me? See the previous sentence. Yet today, the semicolon and its cousin, the colon, are considered the black sheep of the grammar family. They’re not as flashy as the Em dash or as slick as the comma.

I have one theory on why the semicolon has lost favor: In today’s fast-paced society with all the texting and e-mailing, abbreviations and acronyms have taken over. Everyone wants to make things shorter and easier. The semicolon and colon are two-part marks. The semicolon is basically a comma with a period over it, and the colon requires a pair of dots. Maybe that’s just too much. People don’t want the clutter or the time-consumption of two marks in one.

Whatever has caused the decline of the semicolon, I’m sorry to see it go. I’m sure if I wait long enough, though, I might see it come back into fashion. What changes in writing craft have you noticed over the years?
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Published on June 23, 2015 15:15 • 127 views • Tags: grammar, laurel-richards, punctuation, writing

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