Semicolons

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Semicolons

  1. 1. SemicolonsComposition IDr. Whitney Vandiver
  2. 2. Where do semicolons come ;from? . + , = ;
  3. 3. ;The History of the Semicolon―The first printed semicolon was the work of good old Aldus Manutius just two years after Columbus sailed to the New World…it was not…the first time a human being ever balanced a dot on top of a comma…medieval scribes had used a symbol very similar to our modern semicolon in their Latin transcripts to indicate abbreviations…The Greeks used the semicolon mark to indicate a question…Meanwhile, a suspiciously similar mark (the punctus versus) was used by medieval scribes to indicate a termination in a psalm.‖ –Lynn Truss, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves
  4. 4. ;It’s Current State ―By and large…it was decided that the way to satisfy the punters was to classify the mark hierarchically, in terms of weight. Thus the comma is the lightest mark, then the semicolon, then the colon, then the full stop.‖ – Lynn Truss, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves ―The semicolon tells you that there is a still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added…The period tells you that that is that; if you didn’t get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along. But with the semicolon there you get a pleasant feeling of expectancy; there is more to com; read on; it will get clearer.‖ – Lewis Thomas, The Medusa and the Snail
  5. 5. ;It’s Current State ―The semicolon is one of the most useful but least used punctuation marks…If a comma is a yield sign and a period is a stop sign, the semicolon is a flashing red—one of those lights you drive through after a brief pause. It’s for times when you want something stronger than a comma but not quite so final as a period.‖ – Patricia T. O’Conner, Woe is I ―[The semicolon] suggests the close relationship between…two statements in a way that the [period or comma] does not attempt…Indeed, this simple method of indicating relationship between statements is one of the most useful devices in composition. The relationship, as above, is commonly one of cause and consequence.‖ – Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
  6. 6. ;What does a semicolon do? ―The semi-colon…connects…two independent thoughts without bringing the narrative to a full stop in the way that a period would.‖ – Liz Bureman, TheWritePractice.com ―If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.‖ – Strunk and White, The Elements of Style
  7. 7. ;Proper Usage of a Semicolon Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list The most common is to conjoin two independent clauses: Maria baked cookies and pie; we had plenty of desserts. Independent Clause #1 Independent Clause #2
  8. 8. ;Proper Usage of a Semicolon Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list The most common is to conjoin two independent clauses: The bus ran late this morning; all of my students missed the exam. Independent Clause #1 Independent Clause #2
  9. 9. ; Proper Usage of a Semicolon  Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list  The most common is to conjoin two independent clauses:  Note that the relationship can be clarified with a heavy conjunction: I missed class; therefore, I have no notes to study for the exam.Independent Clause #1 Independent Clause #2
  10. 10. ;Proper Usage of a Semicolon Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list The most common is to conjoin two independent clauses:  Note that the relationship can be clarified with a heavy conjunction: She decided not to attend; however, I attended both performances. Independent Clause #1 Independent Clause #2
  11. 11. Copulative Conjunctions/LinkingWords/Conjunctive ;Adverbs…Heavy Conjunctions! Words that are used to show relationships between to independent clauses that are connected with semicolons Common ones include…additionally in comparison thereforecomparatively in contrast thusconversely incidentally undoubtedlyfurthermore subsequentlyhenceforth thereafter
  12. 12. ;Proper Usage of a Semicolon Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list ―In lists and elsewhere, semicolons are basically uber-commas. They help separate things that are really long and cumbersome or that are already bogged down with commas.‖ – June Casagrande, Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies
  13. 13. ;Proper Usage of a Semicolon Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list When items in a list are either long or involve commas in their internal punctuation, separate the items with semicolons: He brought his newly-purchased, retro-looking lamp; an imitation bear rug that he was given by his great-grandfather; an old, delicately-painted porcelain egg that he won in an art contest; and a large collection of Middle Eastern art to hang on the walls.
  14. 14. ;Proper Usage of a Semicolon Semicolons can only be used in two instances:  To conjoin two independent clauses  To separate long, descriptive items in a list When items in a list are either long or involve commas in their internal punctuation, separate the items with semicolons: The Halloween party was full of costumes, including a pink, fluffy bunny with green ears; a child-sized Batman with a miniature, classic-style Batmobile; a Milky Way galaxy with Earth, Jupiter, and Pluto orbiting; and an Apple laptop with a connected iPod, iPad, and iPhone.
  15. 15. The Dangers of the ;Semicolon ―[Semicolons] place two clauses in some kind of relation but relieve the writer of saying exactly what that relation is.‖ – Paul Robinson, ―The Philosophy of Punctuation‖ ―[A] danger is that weak-charactered writers will be encouraged to ignore the rule that only full sentences should be joined by the semicolon. Sometimes—and I’ve never admitted this to anyone before—I adopt a kind of stream-of-consciousness sentence structure; somewhat like Virginia Woolf; without full sentences; but it feels OK to do this; rather worrying.‖ – Lynn Truss, Eats, Shoots, & Leaves
  16. 16. ;Practice Determine if the following uses of the semicolon are correct or incorrect…Better to have loved and lost; than never to have loved at all.Mary did not understand the material; therefore, she failed the exam.The missile was launched two minutes ago; it is expected to reach itstarget in three minutes.Grandma knitted us gifts our birthdays; including mittens, hats, andscarves.There is no one to babysit tonight, however; I will be attending tomorrow.We should not forget to pack an umbrella; rain coats; rain boots; and atarp.
  17. 17. ;Practice Determine if the following uses of the semicolon are correct or incorrect…Better to have loved and lost; than never to have loved at all. (incorrect)Mary did not understand the material; therefore, she failed the exam.(correct)The missile was launched two minutes ago; it is expected to reach itstarget in three minutes. (correct)Grandma knitted us gifts our birthdays; including mittens, hats, andscarves. (incorrect)There is no one to babysit tonight, however; I will be attending tomorrow.(incorrect)We should not forget to pack an umbrella; rain coats; rain boots; and atarp. (technically correct, but a comma is preferred when the list is shorter items like these)

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