I think Chomsky was into syntax, not punctuation…

I like, use, and possibly even over-use the semicolon, but (or perhaps therefore) I didn’t notice it in the NYC subway ad about throwing newspaper away rather than littering, discussed in the NY Times by diverse grammar experts:

Allan M. Siegal, a longtime arbiter of New York Times style before retiring, opined, “The semicolon is correct, though I’d have used a colon, which I think would be a bit more sophisticated in that sentence.”

The linguist Noam Chomsky sniffed, “I suppose Bush would claim it’s the effect of No Child Left Behind.”

I agree with Siegal, actually; my first thought upon reading the ad text was, “But a colon would be so much stronger there!”


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