If The Semicolon Can Make It There, It Can Make It Anywhere

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.

“Please put it in a trash can,” riders are reminded. After which Neil Neches, an erudite writer in the transit agency’s marketing and service information department, inserted a semicolon. The rest of the sentence reads, “that’s good news for everyone.”

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.