semicolon cover final US.jpg
UK/Ireland/Australia Edition

UK/Ireland/Australia Edition

“Lively . . . Watson covers impressive ground in this short book, skittering back and forth like a sandpiper at the shores of language’s Great Debates. . . fascinating.”
New York Times

“Watson, a historian and philosopher of science and a teacher of writing and the humanities—in other words, a Renaissance woman—gives us a deceptively playful-looking book that turns out to be a scholarly treatise on a sophisticated device that has contributed eloquence and mystery to Western civilization. . . delightful.”
Mary Norris, The New Yorker

“What? Sit on the beach reading about punctuation? Yes, when it’s as fun, rangy, and witty as this.”
— Philadelphia Inquirer, “Big Summer Books”


“Pity the poor semicolon, punctuation’s wallflower, wrongfully maligned and too seldom asked to dance. Fortunately, this modest little powerhouse has found its defender. [Watson] is a witty, elegant writer with no nonsense about her.”
New York Times Book Review

“Delightful, enlightening . . . The twisty history of the hybrid divider perfectly embodies the transience of language, the ways it can be shaped by cultural shifts that have nothing to do with correctness or clarity.”
Vulture

“A delightful rabbit hole that I think even those who are not punctuation-obsessed will find eye-opening and strangely reassuring. If you enjoyed Between You & Me, Woe Is I, or Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Semicolon . . . is for you.”
The Amazon Book Review, “Weekend Reading”

“Look, some people just enjoy arguing about punctuation. It’s in their nature. But if your enthusiasm for this polarizing little mark stems from adoration and inquisitiveness (and only occasionally the haughty knowledge that you’re right), Cecelia Watson’s “biography” of the semicolon will be a delightful companion.”
Elle, “Thirty Best Books to Read This Summer”

“Charming . . . an argument for deep knowledge and style awareness, moving beyond strictures to something educated, intuitive, and graceful.”
New York Journal of Books

“Buoyant . . . thought-provoking . . . this little book is something of a page-turner.”
Santa Fe New Mexican

“[A] witty, wily account.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Lively . . . great fun to read and pleasingly opinionated . . . essential reading for anyone who cares about language and its uses. Watson asks us to look hard at rules that pretend to be objective and consider their origins and implications; and in doing so, she advocates a skeptical, searching attitude that could usefully be taken toward many aspects of American life beyond grammar.”
Boston Globe

“Winsome.”
Harper’s Magazine