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Re: ... vs. colon (Was Brit/US colon-vs-semicolon) -Reply
Subject:Re: ... vs. colon (Was Brit/US colon-vs-semicolon) -Reply From:"Shalanna (Denise) Weeks" <dgweeks -at- SPDMAIL -dot- SPD -dot- DSCCC -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 12 Dec 1996 12:10:12 -0600
On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, Bill Sullivan wrote:
> >For example, I have seen this very often on my company's web pages
> and on others as well:
> >Blah blah blah and here are the exciting features of this game... a.
> it has this b. it offers that. etc.
> Your three stops are collectively known as an ellipsis, and your
> dictionary and style manuals should give you lots to check out. The
> ellipsis, a sign indicating omission, is incorrectly (that is,
> ignorantly) used in your example. The person who used it should have
> his or her writer's license taken away.
Just because many people glom onto an illiteracy (a mistake made out of
ignorance and unfixed because no one cares enough), that does NOT mean
that "the language is evolving." If it does not increase clarity, then
why would we want to honor a mistake? It's as though football players
suddenly started making mistakes in the scoring of the game, and they just
went with the chaos of "every mistake is actually a change that should be
implemented across the board and validated as perfection of evolution."
Good grief! There's a reason the language was standardized as it was:
instant clarity of expression when things are written well. There's no
excuse for the laziness of those who say, "Everyone has started mistaking
this for that, so let's just change it so they're right, rather than
asking them to learn." They don't DO that in science, and we should not,
The semicolon is NOT dead. It serves a useful purpose and makes things
far clearer; comma splices should not be blessed just because writers and
the careless don't want to stop a moment and determine whether they are
joining two independent clauses. It's crazy to say, "Let's make things so
that the ignorant can mandate wholesale change."
Bravo for Bill and others like him (me!)
President, Dallas Society for the Preservation of the Semicolon
Motto: Education, not ignorance!