Semicolon by definition?

Hello everyone!

I have a question about the semicolon I'm hoping you can help me with.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the recent semi colon movement in popular culture. It's a suicide prevention campaign that uses the semicolon as a reminder to survivors that: "Your story isn't over." As a former writing tutor, lifelong reader and writer and sucide survivor, I think about the semicolon frequently and in depth. I don't disagree with the movement in either its purpose or its use. I think its beautiful.

However, as a tutor I think the sentiment is slightly inaccurate. Its not the story thats continuing, just the sentence. Additionally, I often explained to students that a semicolon meant literally, "You could have stopped; but you chose to go on." I have also used this definition to explain the semicolon to people in reference to being a survivor.

Yet, I wonder if my definition isn't inaccurate as well. The geek in me says, "You could have stopped; but you chose to go on." But the survivor says it should be: "You could have stopped; but you went on."

After (likely) far too many sleepless nights pondering this, I must ask for help. That's where you come in...

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