The Usage of Semicolon is Confusing; Most People Are Afraid of It

Neil Neches of the New York City Transit's marketing and service information department gained fame when he inserted a semicolon in a public service placard:

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.”

Which brings the question: why aren't we using semicolons more often? (I blame conjunctions!)

Ironically, The New York Times article itself contained a punctuation error (see errata below). Oh, the irony!

Link - via Nag on the Lake | Oh, and here's a guide on how to use semicolons without committing a grammatical sin.

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It's "grammar," not "grammer." Gaudere's Law strikes!

(If you meant that using a semicolon in place of a comma is not appropriate to the guy who played Frasier Crane, then I retract this comment. Except to point out that Mr. Grammer's name is usually capitalized.)
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Once you learn how to use them you will never look back; however, if you ever had a bastard grade your technical paper where you consistently misused semi-colons you may find yourself gun-shy in later years.

They can be used as super-commas when you want to be unambiguous about commas contained within the items being listed. This is the list; this, that and the other thing; he, she and the dog; homer, marge and the kids.
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I'll just re-iterate the obvious; It took one Simon and Shuster's grammar volumes to help solve this mystery. Don't use a semi-colon like a comma dammit! You don't say, "John and Sue are on vacation. They brought their swimsuits; beachball; and their beach towels." It's not proper grammer. The correct way would be to say, "John and Sue are on vacation; they brought their swimsuits, beachball and their beach towels." They're supposed to be placed at the end of complete sentences; especially if you have more to say about the particular subject. Cool huh? Now run and tell all of your friends about it.
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I might use it. It really depends on the audience reading my stuff.

In some situations I feel like I'm showing off if I use the semicolon, so I like to throw in a few split infinitives or dangling participles to balance it out.
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@Jen-- PIN number, ATM machine and HIV virus are all redundant because N stands for number, etc.

And I am a staunch user of the semicolon; it's very useful when breaking up a sentence into two isolated thoughts. My problem is deciding whether to use a colon or a dash.

I love colon.
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