Seen around the web today, and chiefly via The New York Times, an old friend in the punctuation line, the humble semicolon, has received a perhaps-overdue spotlight. Said the Times:
It was nearly hidden on a New York City Transit public service placard exhorting subway riders not to leave their newspaper behind when they get off the train.
â€œPlease put it in a trash can,â€ riders are reminded. After which Neil Neches, an erudite writer in the transit agencyâ€™s marketing and service information department, inserted a semicolon. The rest of the sentence reads, â€œthatâ€™s good news for everyone.â€
The mere inclusion of a punctuation mark has garnered plaudits and raves from such people as Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves), Geoffrey Nunberg (linguistics professor at UC Berkeley), and even notice from Noam Chomsky.
Who knew the correct and elegant use of a single punctuation mark would generate such fervor?
Make sure and read the whole article here, including a not-to-be-missed and ironically-funny correction at the end made necessary because the Times‘s writer inadvertently correctly punctuated the title of Lynne Truss’s book.