Writing Glitch #347

Today’s glitch:


This sentence can be fixed in one of the following ways: get rid of the conjunction or replace the semicolon with a comma.

Semicolons aren’t used with conjunctions except when you’re using semicolons as a “super-commas” with a list (this is the “semicolons in a complex list” rule from CMoS, section 6.58), and you — intelligent person that you are — have used an “Oxford semicolon” before the conjunction between the next-to-last and last items in the list. (Example: Her favorite foods are pizza with chicken, spinach, and onions; cheese cake with strawberries; and pot roast with potatoes and carrots.)

“You’re a weapon; weapons don’t weep.”


“You’re a weapon, and weapons don’t weep.”

(Mercenary Proofreader prefers the latter because semicolons in dialogue look weird.)

You could also replace the comma from the original with a period: “You’re a weapon. Weapons don’t weep.”


About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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2 Responses to Writing Glitch #347

  1. curioushart says:

    Very helpful. Thank you.


  2. M. Oniker says:

    I like it best with the full stop of the two sentences. If it wasn’t dialogue, I like the semicolon (without the conjunction), but as you say, for some reason it looks weird to read in dialogue.

    Liked by 1 person

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