Our Friend, the Semicolon There are several ways to join TWO independent clauses: Grandma stays up late. She likes to watch TV. Two independent ideas, separated by a period.
Our Friend, the Semicolon What if we try to combine the two ideas? Grandma stays up late, she likes to watch TV. Is this okay? Something’s wrong! We connected two independent clauses with only a comma. The dreaded COMMA SPLICE!
Our Friend, the Semicolon We could insert a coordinating conjunction : This is better! Note the comma that accompanies the coordinating conjunction. Grandma stays up late , and she likes to watch TV.
Our Friend, the Semicolon We could also try subordinating one of these ideas: Grandma stays up late because he likes to watch TV. Notice that the comma disappeared. One idea (the second one) now depends on the other; it has become a dependent clause .
Semicolon Rule #1 SEMI-COLON Grandma stays up too late ; she’s afraid she’s going to miss something. Notice there is no conjunction used with this semicolon – either subordinating or coordinating. Just the semicolon, all by itself. Also notice the word directly after the semi-colon is NOT capitalized.
Semicolon Rule #2 The SECOND way to use a semicolon is with a conjunctive adverbs or transitional expressions – words such as however, moreover, therefore, nevertheless, consequently, as a result . Grandma likes to watch TV ; therefore, she stays up too late.
Semicolon Rule #3 <ul><li>If you have TWO ICs that have commas in them, separate them with a ; AND a CC </li></ul><ul><li>A semi-colon + coordination conjunction (FANBOYS) IF AND ONLY IF commas appear within the clauses. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because of the rain , Manny ran inside; but Mitchell , Cameron , and Hayley grabbed an umbrella. </li></ul></ul>
Semicolon Rule #4 There is a FOURTH AND FINAL use of the semicolon: to help us sort out monster lists , like this one: The committee included Peter Wursthorn, Professor of Mathematics, from Marlborough, Connecticut, Virginia Villa, Professor of English, from Hartford, Connecticut, Paul Creech, Director of Rad-Tech, from Essex, Connecticut, and Joan Leach, Professor of Nursing, from Farmington, Connecticut.
Semicolon Rule #4 Be careful where you insert semicolons in this sentence. It should look like THIS: The committee included Peter Wursthorn, Professor of Mathematics, from Marlborough, Connecticut ; Virginia Villa, Professor of English, from Hartford, Connecticut ; Paul Creech, Director of Rad-Tech, from Essex, Connecticut ; and Joan Leach, Professor of Nursing, from Farmington, Connecticut .
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