View Full Version : Semicolon blues

11-10-2013, 09:46 AM
Hey everybody,

For those who don't know me, my name is Jon and I'm the writer of The C-Listers. I've been going over a friend's script and wanted to ask about a comic book grammar issue dealing with the semicolon. He uses it all over his dialogue and I'm not really sure if this is incorrect per se, although I've never run into any dialogue with it. I hope there's some sort of rule on this as I don't want to say it's incorrect if it's not.



11-10-2013, 06:16 PM
I can't really speak from a lettering perspective, but as writing goes, there is no place for a colon or semi-colon in dialogue. Colons and semi-colons are basically grammatical show pieces. They serve VERY specific purposes when used properly and, in the case of a semi-colon, they are optional entirely.

I mean, and surely you know this, a semi-colon is just a way of connecting two related clauses in modern use. There is no reason to use a somewhat obscure piece of punctuation when two short sentences will do the same. If it's being used for listing ("John, the farmer; Ralph, the miner; and Burger, the burger") then I'd say maybe it's okay? I'd ask a pro letterer on that one though.

Anyway, that's just my opinion on it. I try to avoid complex syntactical styling in dialogue. It's showy with no real benefit and can distance the reader from the things they are reading as it's generally unfamiliar punctuation.

The Comic Dr
11-11-2013, 02:09 AM
I second digiwombat's thoughts. There's definitely no need for a semicolon in dialogue. In fact there's rarely a need for a semicolon ANYWHERE! I always advise to get rid of them. Use a full stop (a "period" for you Americans) or a comma instead.

11-11-2013, 04:57 AM
I'm increasingly seeing semi-colons and colons creeping into dialogue and I don't understand it. The ubiquitous double-dash covers pretty much all dialogue punctuation not covered by a comma, ellipsis, period, exclamation or question mark.



11-11-2013, 06:15 AM
Thanks guy. I wasn't either aware that this was starting to happen. This should allow me to move a bit faster through the script, especially if I end up lettering any of his work.

11-11-2013, 07:47 AM
Most comics grammar questions (including the semi-colon/double dash issue) are covered here: