Harvard's Latest Field of Expertise: the Semicolon

The story includes Kurt Vonnegut's musings about the meaning of the semicolon, and quotes an expert from Harvard...

A recent public-service ad campaign in the New York City subways used a semicolon in urging riders to dispose of their newspapers rather than leaving them
behind on the train: "Please put it in the trash can; that's good news for everyone."

The New York Times used the ad campaign as an entry point into a broader investigation of the little-used punctuation mark and its cultural associations. The story includes Kurt Vonnegut's musings about the meaning of the semicolon, and quotes an expert from Harvard—Louis Menand, Bass professor of English and American literature and language, who is also a staff writer for the New Yorker—who deems the ad campaign's usage "impeccable."

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