Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Today's Grammatical Invention

I will be the first to admit it; I abuse and over-use semicolons. But really, I can't help it; they are far and away my favorite punctuation mark. I'm pretty sure if I had to, I could go on like this for a whole blog post; fortunately, I don't have to, and I recognize that it will become annoying by that last sentence*. The point is, I love semi-colons and use them as often as a proctologist pokes two of them.**
*Unfortunately, I don't care.
**see what I did there?

Earlier today, I ran into a problem I had never had with a semi-colon; it didn't convey the excitement I wanted expressed in the first sentence, and the second sentence only warranted a period. I was in the jaws of a grammatical dilemma. I decided to stop whatever I was doing* so that I could make the world a better place by meeting its recently found need for a new gem of punctuation mark. You're all welcome. Except if you're a grammar fascist, in which case I mean your welcome.
*which, apparently, wasn't that exciting, as evidenced by the fact that I forgot about it two minutes later.

First off, there has to be a good name. I call it the "exclamacolon." That sounds catchy, and relatively self descriptive. True, Exclamacolon does sound like it could be some weird, painful step in a juice cleanse, but until I hear a better name, I'm sticking with that.

Second, I'm going to start work on designing one. For the time being, it will just be an exclamation point before a semi-colon, but someday, you'll all recognize it just like you recognize the ampersand, tilda, the dash (as opposed to the hyphen), guillemets*, you know, all the useful punctuation you use in ever-day life.
*bonus points to you if you actually know what all of these are

Most importantly, I'm going to start using it. I think I've figured out how to use it. My trick is to start with something exciting or dangerous, something you wouldn't expect. That's the first half of the conjoined sentence. The second half is the letdown -- you know, the part that reminds you just how boring the conversation really is. In short, using these may actually make people hate you.

Here are some examples of situations you could use an exclamacolon:

1) Jeff fell down the well!; Lassie would have gone for help, but she was eating grass.

2) When I was in eighth grade, I was elected class president!; then, the administration found out how I rigged the vote.*

3) I can't believe you're arresting me for this!; honestly, Officer, I had no idea you were even watching me.*

4) I eat shits like you for breakfast!; at the same time, you should know that I frequently exaggerate my dietary habits.*

5) I beat the stuffing out of a tiger once!; the owners of the toy store were really angry and tried to get me to pay for it, though.*

*all things I may have actually said as two sentences before inventing the exlamacolon.

You are now free to become the most popular, innovative writer of the 21st century!; all I ask is that you credit me for inspiring you to write just so you could have an excuse to use the exclamacolon.