LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Grammar Post: Semi-Colons

on February 20, 2013 12:00pm

1. A semicolon is used for connecting two independent clauses. Two independent clauses can be used as two complete sentences. To combine them together into one sentence, a semicolon should be used.

Example: Summer vacation is boring; I am always looking for something to do.

2. A semicolon is also used as a super comma. When you have a long series of items, you can separate them with commas. However, if you want to describe the items, you will have to use semicolons. Semicolons prevent confusion from occurring.

Example: She travels a lot for work.  In the last year, she has been to Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; London, England; Rome, Italy; Beijing, China; and Sidney, Australia.
Example: For the bake sale, Jimmy made a moist, chocolate cake; a rich, red velvet cake; crispy, chocolate chip cookies; tart lemon squares; fancy Madeline cookies; and a big pitcher of lemonade.

3. A semicolon is used with conjunctive adverbs. It is also used with transitional phrases.  Use a semi-colon before the adverb or transitional word and a comma after it.  The semicolon is used to end the first independent clause and the transition introduces the second independent clause.

Example: I meant to work out this morning; however, I slept through my alarm.
Example: I left my wallet at home; in other words, I can’t pay for my dinner.

4. Semi-colons can also be useful when correcting runon sentences and comma splices. A run-on sentence is two or more independent clauses (complete sentences) that are run together without proper punctuation.

Types of run-on sentences:

Fused sentence:  sentences that incorrectly join or fuse two sentences together without proper punctuation.

  •  Incorrect: Aren’t you through let me help. (fused sentence run-on)
  •  Correct: Aren’t you through? Let me help.

Comma Splice: sentences that incorrectly joins or splices together two independent clauses (sentences) with only a comma.

  • Incorrect: Pam arrived, we went cycling. (comma splice run-on)
  • Correct: Pam arrived, and we went cycling

Ways to Correct a Run-on Sentence: We picked a lot of blueberries I am going to make blueberry pie.

Separate the independent clauses with a period.

We picked a lot of blueberriesI am going to make blueberry pie.

Join the two independent clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction.

We picked a lot of blueberries, so I am going to make blueberry pie

Join the two independent clauses with a semicolon, a transition, and a comma.

We picked a lot of blueberries; therefore, I am going to make blueberry pie.

Join the two independent clauses with a semicolon

We picked a lot of blueberries; I am going to make blueberry pie.

Join the two clauses with a subordinating conjunction

Since we picked a lot of blueberries, I am going to make a blueberry pie.

Conjunctive Adjectives:

To Add Two Related Ideas
Conjunctive Adverb Examples
Also Finish your homework before dinner; also, make sure you study for your tests.
As a matter of fact Being healthy is a lifelong journey; as a matter of fact, the best way to be healthy is to eat healthy.
Furthermore Training has a direct impact on performance; furthermore, the more you train, the better athlete you will become.
In addition Sleep and rest is a great cure for some sicknesses: in addition, sleeping the recommended number of hours greatly improves your health.
In fact Overthinking problems causes a lot of stress; in fact, sometimes the easiest solution is the best solution.
Moreover Students work best if they are organized; moreover, keeping a calendar of coming due dates makes work less stressful.
To Add Two Related Ideas
Conjunctive Adverb Examples
Also Finish your homework before dinner; also, make sure you study for your tests.
As a matter of fact Being healthy is a lifelong journey; as a matter of fact, the best way to be healthy is to eat healthy.
Furthermore Training has a direct impact on performance; furthermore, the more you train, the better athlete you will become.
In addition Sleep and rest is a great cure for some sicknesses: in addition, sleeping the recommended number of hours greatly improves your health.
In fact Overthinking problems causes a lot of stress; in fact, sometimes the easiest solution is the best solution.
Moreover Students work best if they are organized; moreover, keeping a calendar of coming due dates makes work less stressful.
To show that one idea is the consequence of the other
Conjunctive Adverb Examples
Accordingly Being a good athlete requires practice; accordingly, practice makes a good athlete.
As a result I twisted my ankle this morning; as a result, I can’t participate in the race.
Consequently I don’t have any money; consequently, I can’t go to the concert.
For this reason Some people don’t have their own cars, for this reason, the GTS bus system comes in handy.
Therefore I took a long nap this afternoon; therefore, I will be up all night.
To show repetition or illustration of an idea or fact.
Conjunctive Adverb Examples
For example Many accidents are caused by texting and driving; for example, my friend was badly injured when a car struck her bike yesterday.
For instance When you have a lot to read, it is better to tackle a bit at a time; for instance, plan to read 25 pages a day for a week.
In other words Writing is different than speaking; in other words, writing how you speak is almost always the wrong way to write.
Indeed I like sleep; indeed, if I could, I would sleep all day!
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