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Context: "If in Your Dreams; the Flood" is the title of a visual novel. In short, it's story about a girl who suffers from constant nightmares, namely she has dreasm about the flood, and each time she sleeps the flood becomes more dangerous and frightening.

I suspect that ";" meant to show that the visual novel has TWO names, ("If in Your Dreams" and "The Flood" respectively), they were just combined in one title.

Am I correct? If not, then what can it mean?

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  • Crosspost of ell.stackexchange.com/q/180206/4376 – Chenmunka Sep 19 '18 at 10:35
  • @Chenmunka Is it bad to crosspost? – user161005 Sep 19 '18 at 10:41
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    It is frowned upon to post identical questions on multiple sites, even if on-topic on each site. You may get one of them deleted. – Chenmunka Sep 19 '18 at 11:00
  • It's literature. Get the author's mind from reading the work. Good Luck. – Kris Sep 19 '18 at 11:04
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    There indeed are rules for semicolon usage. We indeed can find similar constructions in literature. See also Writing Good Luck. – Kris Sep 19 '18 at 11:25
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This boils down to reference styles. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's wrong, but there's definitely some nonstandard usage here.

A more common style would be to write the two titles as follows:

If in Your Dreams; or, The Flood

Reference reading: See "Double Titles" at https://style.mla.org/punctuation-with-titles/

Or "The Flood" could be the subtitle. In which case, it would be rendered as follows in most styles:

If in Your Dreams: The Flood

Reference reading: See "Titles and Subtitles" at https://style.mla.org/punctuation-with-titles/

I am sorry that I can't really answer your question.

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  • >subtitle What is "subtitle"? I have never heard about such thing. – user161005 Sep 19 '18 at 14:05
  • Let's just say it is a secondary title. For example, in "Alternative splicing: New insights from global analyses," "Alternative splicing" is the main title and the part after the colon is the subtitle. – amruta h Sep 19 '18 at 14:09
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This is the title of a non-fiction work. Like the text itself, the title is the work of the imagination of the writer. In fiction, writers do not have to follow widely-held practices, including practices in punctuation and grammar. We have no way of knowing why the writer titled the "book" (it is actually the name of one of three stories that occur in a computer game) If in Your Dreams; the Flood. It is part of a work of art. It is fiction; fiction doesn't have to use standard grammar. Ask the writer why they chose that wording/punctuation in that title.

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  • Poetic license is respected, and I agree with what Knotell says here about fiction not always following widely held practices. However, I do feel that good fiction does not unnecessarily violate most of the standard grammar rules. In this particular case, I am not quite sure the writer named it so. This was probably written in a listing of the writer's works. A nonstandard listing causes confusion (as we have seen here). If this is the name of the actual work, I apologise for dissecting it. :) – amruta h Sep 21 '18 at 6:08

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