My semicolon experiment

As a professor, there are certain remarks I find myself writing over and over again, to the point that I have several things I can cut and paste in student papers without too much effort that cover common issues. For example, if you are a student who received this message from me, you are probably not the first: “Grammar is not where it needs to be. I would recommend visiting the writing center before the next assignment to work out some of these issues!”

To amuse myself while grading papers, I have begun to add a sentence to my canned remarks for semicolon abusers for every error made. I find semi colons are the most misused character in the English language by students.

Right now, as mid term assignments roll in, here is where it stands:

“Never use semicolons. College students misuse them, and this hurts your grade. I can’t emphasize this enough. I wish I got paid per instance of semicolon misuse. I would be a very rich man.”

Updates forthcoming as necessary!