The semicolon: Necessary or not?

Its primary function is quite simple; it separates two short, related independent clauses. Whether it serves more to impress readers than to afford them a breather is a point of debate.

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The semicolon, like the Oxford comma, is often debated.

The marketer or copywriter either loves or hates it. No room is left for any other emotion except the angst sometimes caused by attempting to use this particular punctuation mark.

It’s an understandable emotion; the semicolon is not quite a comma nor quite a period. It’s a strange amalgamation of the two, which prompted the well-known Kurt Vonnegut quote:

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.

To use another Vonnegut quote: “So it goes.” The semicolon simply isn’t the most beloved mark in the world of punctuation.

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