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Gething: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Semicolon: The pleasure’s all mine; thank you for having me. Gething: My interest is in the controversy you have stirred in the literary world. Semicolon: I’ve done no such thing; those who don’t use me seem to be causing all the fuss. Gething: That’s my point. Many modern writers, in particular Cormac McCarthy in his interview with Oprah , have called for your extinction.
I’ve edited a monthly magazine for more than six years, and it’s a job that’s come with more frustration than reward. If there’s one thing I am grateful for — and it sure isn’t the pay — it’s that my work has allowed endless time to hone my craft to Louis Skolnick levels of grammar geekery. As someone who slings red ink for a living, let me tell you: grammar is an ultra-micro component in the larger picture; it lies somewhere in the final steps of the editing trail; and as such it’s an overrated quasi-irrelevancy in the creative process, perpetuated into importance primarily by bitter nerds who accumulate tweed jackets and crippling inferiority complexes.
When you mean “for example,” use e.g. It is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia . When you mean “that is,” use “i.e.”