“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
― Thomas Jefferson
Our second installment of the Punctuation Pantry talks about semicolons and parentheses. This may seem exceedingly dull (and I agree, suspended hyphens were more interesting); but the fact remains, in this day and age, these two punctuation items need to be discussed. (See what I did there?)
A definition is not needed for parentheses. But you may have noticed that you really don’t see them anymore outside of emails (and blog posts, of course). 🙂 In books, you typically don’t see parentheses. Why?
Based on my observation, they’ve been replaced by dashes. Look at these sentences:
The characters in the movie were three-dimensional (and very entertaining).
Which can be written as,
The characters in the movie were three-dimensional – and very entertaining.
So, the general rule is, parentheses are fine for informal writing. But formal writing tends to avoid them.
Semicolons basically join two independent clauses, which is very helpful in outlining or list-making. But until a couple years ago, I was strongly opposed to using them in formal writing, simply because they were used – heavily – in classics and older literature. They are more sparse in today’s work.
However, that does not mean they have no place in the literature of today. Do your research. But I would recommend not using them quite as frequently as the classics did, simply because they seem to be a little less popular today.
So, recap. Formal writing, avoid parentheses and sprinkle the semicolons. A lot of what I’ve learned about punctuation in writing comes from observing the writing of others. So if you want a stricter definition of what is accepted, do your research.
And NOW! Drum roll . . . I did not want to leave you all today with a few up-to-date pictures of our little Goldendoodle Phoenix. 🙂 She has grown so fast, it’s impossible to believe. She barely fits in my arms. Already! Today, she has her appointment with the vets, so she’s got a car ride to look forward to. She’s okay in the car, but we’ll see how it goes.
Her potty training is slow, but her training in basic commands is incredible. She’s even learning hand signals. And guess who wakes me up at five every morning? Without fail. That’s her “I’ve got to go to the bathroom” alert.
And good news, the cats are adjusting to her. And she knows she’s not supposed to chase them, but . . . oh, they’re so fast and fluffy she says!
So, what are your favorite uses of the three topics we’ve addressed in the Punctuation Pantry? Do you use semicolons or parentheses? Now, how about Phoenix – cutest puppy EVER? (I know, I’m horribly biased.) Let’s chat!