Can follow a semicolon as

The forgotten punctuation mark : We should dare more semicolons;

Klaus Brinkbäumer was most recently editor-in-chief of “Spiegel” and now works as an author for “Die Zeit”, among others.You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Brinkbaeumer.

Is the little semicolon doing well, on display up there and all alone in the headline? Is it freezing, is it afraid? It doesn't know that; The semicolon, that "punctuation mark that separates a bit more than a comma, but still clarifies the context of a larger set of sentences" (Duden), is used to company because it spends its life cuddled up or sometimes trapped: the semicolon has between two to stand sentences of equal rank; so demand the rules of the German language.

The semicolon isn't quite a period; it makes us readers pause and therefore feel and think while it connects complexes; it sorts and weights while it floats and lets the words float in its surroundings.

It's the better indent. It's my very favorite punctuation mark. By the way, authors who appreciate the semicolon are considered well-mannered by the others. We self-lovers; we curlicues! I recently wrote a ZEIT dossier with an otherwise wonderful colleague, and this colleague does not appreciate the semicolon. It couldn't have been worse between us; I promised to remove some semicolons, but which ones? The pain of separation cost me a day at work.

"Without breaking the point"

After all, my company is not entirely bad and damnable. Thomas Mann writes that “Tony knew everyone on her walks through town and chatted with everyone; the consul agreed with this because it betrayed no arrogance, but a sense of community and charity ”. Mann sprinkled 760 semicolons into his “Buddenbrooks”, often before a “for” or a “but”; And isn't that why we slide through this text, carried and never dropped by a vibrating language including its punctuation?

The Greeks used lines and dots together for the first time, but for them it was still a question mark. The printer Aldus Manutius, an Italian, left us the first written semicolon in our sense in 1494; it still separated opposites. The name also comes from the 15th century: “semi” is Latin for “half”, “ktlon” is a part of the body or a phrase in Greek.

George Orwell was not convinced and refused to use the semicolon. Elfriede Jelinek, on the other hand, loves it and shies "downright before the full stop and the new beginning of a sentence. With the semicolon, however, I can create a certain order in my tirades based on sound, without breaking the point ”. Feridun Zaimoglu raves about the “code of the subtle”. Is it still going to die out?

"Harry Potter" only had it in every 49th sentence

Linguists write to me that the matter has been decided. Our noisy smartphone language let the exclamation mark win the competition for punctuation marks, in second place were the three seemingly thoughtful dots, and in third place: no more punctuation, it was too expensive for the youngsters. The “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” described the “demise of the semicolon” ​​five years ago, and of course it was well documented: In Jane Austen's “Verstand und Feeling”, published in 1811, every third sentence still had a semicolon; in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" only in every 49th sentence.

Columns may call for revolt. So let's go against the trend. Let's leave out the exclamation marks; let's choose the semicolon. And well, the strict rule of the Duden may forbid us to do just that, but unfortunately, unfortunately we have to break it: With all possible pleasure, we are now even putting a semicolon between the main and subordinate clauses; because we can.

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