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Semicolon : The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark (2019) 4 stars

Review of 'Semicolon : The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

How should one go about writing a pop-scientific book that is solely about the semicolon? Is it best to be bone dry and scientific, as with most dictionaries, or bone dry and severely funny, as with Benjamin Dreyer's "Dreyer's English"?

Thankfully, Cecelia Watson approaches this nerdy subject with both clerical adroitness and humour, and she constructs all of this chronologically. From the start of her book:

How did the semicolon, once regarded with admiration, come to seem so offensive, so unwieldy, to so many people? Asking this question might seem academic in all the worst ways: what practical value could there be in mulling punctuation, and in particular its history, when we have efficiently slim guidebooks like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and thick reference volumes like The Chicago Manual of Style to set straight our misplaced colons and commas? We have rules for this sort of thing! …