Grammar Greatness: the Semi-colon (when Commas and Full Stops breed).

October 14, 2019 | By | Reply More

Punctuation is simply how you make your writing read more like how you speak.

So how does the Semi-colon work – this odd-looking ;  hybrid love-child of a Comma below, and a Full Stop above?

Basically, the Semi-colon helps you glue together two closely connected ideas inside a sentence. The Semi-colon often works well if you can replace the Semi-colon (;) with an and (or other conjunctive word), instead, and your sentence still makes sense,

Examples

  • We can visit the burger restaurant this week; maybe Friday will work well for you?
  • Some customer like hot dogs; others prefer to chew down on a juicy hamburger.

Problems

You don’t usually CAPITALISE the first character after the semi-colon – treating it like the first word after a Full Stop (unless it’s something that’s always capitalised, like Peter, or America).

  • So incorrect would be: Some customer like hot dogs; Others prefer to chew down on a juicy hamburger.
  • Correct would be: Some customer like hot dogs; others prefer to chew down on a juicy hamburger.
  • Also Correct would be: We can visit the burger restaurant this week; Friday might work well for you?

It’s also easy to incorrectly use the semi-colon when commas or colons are needed, instead – so watch out for that.

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Category: Wizard of Words

About the Author ()

I have been working as a full-time author publishing fantasy and science fiction novels for HarperCollins for the last seven years.

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