“Though a woman is reserved, and keeps her feelings concealed; yet when she gets on the top of a man, she then shows all her love and desire. A man should gather from the actions of the woman of what disposition she is, and in what way she likes to be enjoyed.” – Kama Sutra, Part II, Chapter VIII: About Females Acting the Parts of the Males.
More mysterious, it seems, than any of the arts locked away in the Kama Sutra is the semicolon, a piece of punctuation that, since its first documented appearance in 1494, has been bludgeoned and bastardized into oblivion by just about everybody who has ever used it without quite knowing why (like, for instance, the translator of the above quotation).
Semicolon abuse has reached a feverish pitch, folks. It’s rampant and calls into question our development as normal, at least marginally intelligent English-speaking adults. There are only 14 punctuation marks in the English language; surely we can come together and at least feign a right to our anthropological claim of being a superior species by understanding how to use more than 92 percent of the punctuation we invented.
Your lesson today has nothing to do with sex or picking up girls; today we will learn how to use the semicolon (that weird mark in the middle of the sentence you have just stopped reading).
The semicolon may be used:
1. Between items in a list containing internal punctuation:
2. Between closely related thoughts not conjoined by a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet):
Ex. I signed up for Playboy.com’s College Basketball Bracket Challenge; it was amazing.
3. Between independent clauses linked with a conjunctive adverb:
Ex. Everyone knows Playboy.com’s Bracket Challenge is awesome and free-to-play; of course, I’m going to win all the amazing prizes like a flat-screen TV, a Playstation 3 and an autographed Larry Bird Celtics jersey.