I have always been a fan of the English language and make every effort to write with good grammar, spelling and punctuation – the glorious trifecta. I dislike bad grammar (I now avoid using the term “grammar nazi” ever since an old friend found it ridiculous, possibly offensive and mildly self-deprecating) and have made a habit of pointing out every grammar mistake I see. Daniel has made me excited about “Weird Al” Yankovic’s upcoming song Word Crimes, which is a grammar-related parody of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Weird Al has just reached hero status in my book.
Unfortunately it is not very good to get caught up in your own bad habits, and pointing out grammatical mistakes can often be more of a bad habit than a good one. We’re now blessed with spelling and grammar checkers, at least digitally, so there may often be no excuse to make a mistake. I have also been extremely embarrassed when I am incorrect about grammar, for instance, I recently pointed out to a workmate that I believed the correct spelling was quarternary and not quaternary. Of course, I bite my tongue. I am fully ashamed for anything I have written where I have made a mistake, and will acknowledge it by correction.
As I am quite pedantic about my writing’s quality, there comes a point where mistakes become amusing. When I deliberately write in LOLspeak or chatspeak, it is usually to emphasise excitement or show sarcasm, such as “whatcha doin lel”, or “MAGAW HEY GERONIMO R ON TEH STAGE RITE NAO”. Of course, keyboard spam usually fits under this category, “dfugjdfkgd this code is pissing me offsfdss”.
This is where my original, occasionally used Twitter hashtag #jointwounrelatedclauses comes in. I have been known to ramble a lot, and go off on tangents and say random things. One person said it as an insult once, telling me, “You say the most… pointless things that make no sense.” Redundancy much?
I digress. Often, there are many things on the mind at once, and if anything, my previous two stream-of-consciousness posts include evidence of the miscellaneous things that may be on my mind at a given time. What “join two unrelated clauses” is, is almost a pun, a play on a semicolon’s use, and a play on grammar, while weaving in a lot of the random, unrelated things I might say in a conversation.
The semicolon (this character, for those of you who don’t know: ;) is often misused. Actually, The Oatmeal has a superb comic explaining how to correctly use semicolons, but in a nutshell, you should use a semicolon when you want to join two independent clauses. An independent clause can sit on its own as a sentence. For example, “The pencil box is full of Polaroid photographs; I add to it daily.” could be written as “The pencil box is full of Polaroid photographs. I add to it daily.”
So basically: avoid semicolons unless you know how to use them; when in doubt just write sentences; don’t be an idiot.
It is a basic rule that you should not join unrelated clauses with a semicolon. So an incorrect example would be, “I like really juicy tomatoes; my shirt has exploding planets on it.” Given that this kind of writing is incorrect, how else would you join two unrelated clauses?
A conjunction. Fantastic. A simple, beautiful, run-of-the-mill conjunction: and.
“I really like juicy tomatoes and my shirt has exploding planets on it.”
There's a spot on the bus floor that looks like a flat tomato and I am coughing up a lung right now. #jointwounrelatedclauses
– Georgie Luhur (@georgiecel) February 14, 2013
The world is amusing and I wish I could drive. #jointwounrelatedclauses
– Georgie Luhur (@georgiecel) September 23, 2012
Finally my Internet decides to work and I'm going to eat candy. #jointwounrelatedclauses
– Georgie Luhur (@georgiecel) October 13, 2012
Obviously something I have only exposed three times on Twitter within the past six years of having a Twitter account. However, I don’t document everything I say, so there’s no doubt I would have said some extremely random things in real life.
Given the power of English, trains of thought and streams of consciousness, why don’t you give me an example of join two unrelated clauses in your comment? 😄