“It’s a really cool way to punctuate sentences ‘cause it looks smart,” she noted, while putting the final touches on an essay due in two hours. “I mean, if I can’t think of the next word to say in an essay, I just add a semicolon. Also, if I want to list a bunch of things, I use a semicolon. Once I just wrote the word “And” and added a semicolon. Now I write like a boss.”
Despite the fact that her essay is littered with green underline marks, Jessica’s enthusiasm for the semicolon continues unabated. As of press time, she has used the semicolon 23 times in a 3- page essay. By comparison, a period occurs a mere 15 times, the comma 9, and the colon not at all. Also missing are question marks, though Jessica has asked several rhetorical questions throughout her paper (in each case, semicolons were used).
“I looked over some writing our professor handed out in class, and it totally had all these semicolons in it,” she related, looking up from her laptop. “So it dawned on me, that’s what he wants us to do—just write a really tricked-out essay with all the bells and whistles. Like check out this sentence I just wrote—it sounds like a literature scientist wrote it:"
“Many people do not like tobacco smoke; however; when I asked the chief of police; Andrew Hudgins; he told me; no; you can smoke in designated areas on campus such as; in front of the university center; in the east parking lot; also by the rec center; he said.”
In our next issue of The Ledger, we will interview Jessica’s composition professor, Dr. Bickerstaff, as he attempts to explain, yet again, the difference between "their, "there," and "they're" and why they're not interchangeable.