Surviving Grammar’s Serial Killer

by Michael


Since October is the designated month of fright, it’s fitting to include semicolons as part of this month’s web series’ entries. Although I am an English major, the little symbol that seems to have nonsensically grouped a period and a comma together still trips me up on occasion, too. After some serious reflection, I have come to the conclusion that – if equated to scary Halloween movies – the semicolon would be the quintessential slasher film killer Michael Myers, and those of us who are too fearful to include the grammatical mechanic in our writings are likened to the innocent Jamie Lee Curtis, doomed to run around screaming and hiding in closets in an attempt to survive. Unlike Jamie’s character, however, we’re not lucky enough to have a wire hanger to defend ourselves against grammatical error…C’est la vie. We do, on the other hand, have our very own resources to improve and learn about the absurd and unnaturally confusing semicolon so that you don’t fall prey to its evil ways.

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by Alec


I received the feedback from my first college paper with the phrase “excessive comma usage” written at the end. The feedback raced through my head over and over again. How could a professor deduct so many points for such a small reason? That was just his opinion. Punctuation is subjective and decided by the author. I flipped back to the first page and began reading it out loud to myself. Surely, if I could prove to him that every comma was necessary, then he would consider raising my grade for the paper. I was quickly humbled as I stumbled over phrases, sentence after sentence. I realized just how distracting those commas were. There was a comma in almost every sentence, and I was clearly in the wrong.

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