I love semicolons because I understand them. Commas, on the other hand,* I don’t get. I am often never sure whether one is needed or not. While I should probably put them in when unsure,** I tend to do the opposite***. Semicolons are cool; commas are just fussy. So, of course, I loved this New York Times article, “Celebrating the Semicolon in a Most Unlikely Location” from a few days back. And, just to make me squirm, here’s the correction added to the article after it was published:
Correction: February 19, 2008
An article in some editions on Monday about a New York City Transit employee’s deft use of the semicolon in a public service placard was less deft in its punctuation of the title of a book by Lynne Truss, who called the placard a “lovely example” of proper punctuation. The title of the book is “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” — not “Eats Shoots & Leaves.” (The subtitle of Ms. Truss’s book is “The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.”)
*Is that one correct? Probably not.
**Put it in against my instincts.
***But writing about it in this post made me self-conscious so in they go.