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Monday, November 3, 2014

Just Where Should a Semicolon Be Used?

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Here is another confusing part of writing in English. I have this sentence I'm working on; should the punctuation be a colon or a semicolon? Hmmm, a finger tapping my pursed lips, "I'm not sure." Well let's investigate beginning with the semicolon.

There are two basic uses for the semicolon. That's why I started here, short and sweet. First the semicolon can be used to separate two main clauses. Here is an example: People were flocking to buy Brigitta Moon's novel Mistake; no one wanted to miss the torrid affair between Beth and Andrew.

Secondly the semicolon can be used as if it were a comma separating clauses, lists of items, series, especially if one or more of the elements already includes a comma. Beth admired her family members who share many happy years of marriage; her mother and father, married thirty years; her cousin Cornflower and her husband Tommy, married three years.

The next post will tackle the colon. So check back or subscribe to this blog.

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