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Ask General Kang: Should I be afraid of the semicolon?

Ask General KangDo you mean the form of punctuation, or what happens to your lower intestines after you’ve eaten improperly prepared Thringian Gitworm sashimi?

Because if you’ve eaten bad ThriGit sashimi, and its still-living spawn are now lunching on your colon, then yes, that is something to be feared; it may even be horrifying.

If you are talking about the form of punctuation, then you are wise to be fearful. Back on Planet Neecknaw, I had a crack brigade of battle-ready gorilloids, armed only with copies of Fowler’s Modern English Usage and their intimate understanding of advanced punctuation warfare. You’ve never seen anything as terrifying as a gorilloid demonstrating an impeccable use of the semi-colon.

(Unless you’ve visited a ThriGit recovery ward.)

Next time: What’s the best way to stop Cerebral Space Weasels from nesting in one’s duodenum?

Question via Neatorama: The Usage of Semicolon is Confusing; Most People Are Afraid of It. Alltop and Humor-blogs.com are also unafraid of the semicolon; they are terrified of the em-dash, however. Note: this post originally appeared in February 2008.

This is one of the pieces in my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures. You should really buy it before I sick General Kang on you.


  1. I love semicolons; I find them extremely effective because I am a dork.

  2. The semi colon has always been and will continue to be a close ally of Rickey’s, right next to the quotation mark.

  3. My use of the semi-colon is attrocious; it serves no purpose other than preventing me from using overused conjunctions; out of disrespect for the semi-colon, I have transformed the punctuation device into a literary flaw; it now contradicts its entire purpose. Down with semi-colons; they are the spawn of Satan; they are the harbingers of disease itself!

  4. Esoteric post, you have a crazy sense of humour and that’s good.

  5. don don

    I have always distrusted umlauts. They’re foreign and they seem to be watching me.

  6. I believe that the semi-colon is a damn fine looking piece of punctuation; I use it whenever I can.

    I think I jizzed my skivvies; it’s too sexy.

  7. Also, I cannot actually write the word correctly because I have a heart condition that is exacerbated by the seeing the word in its full glory.

  8. It is gratifying to see that we are all excited by the semicolon in one way or another.

    Quelqoth, if there was ever any doubt about your anarchist credentials, your antipathy to that paragon of punctuation, the semicolon, should put them to rest; you have revealed yourself!

    Dorks and lovers of the esoteric, unite!

  9. “Qelqoth” reminds me of that “problem” I have with “overuse” of “quotes” for a desired “effect.”

  10. In order to use a semicolon properly, one must have two sentences that are related; Sadly, this is rarely the case for me. I like apples. I saw an interesting program on television last night. Oh my, what a pretty bird! ADHD is fun. What were we talking about?

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