How To Use The Semicolon

Hello candidates, how have you been. Last time we talked about the comma and the unnecessary comma I hope you know how to use a comma appropriately in sentence but if you don’t? don’t hesitate to ask here, also reviewing some academic products here will also improve your understanding.
Today we will be discussing about the semicolon, I believed we have all heard about it before today.

What is semicolon? and how do we use a semicolon in a sentence without a grammatical errors.

how to use the semicolon

How To Use The Semicolon

The semicolon is used to connect major sentence elements of equal grammatical rank.

When you use grammer checker such as phones dictionary, it may flag some, but not all, the checker flag misused semicolons which I will later explain. In addition, they can alert you to some run-on sentences. However, they miss more run-on sentences than they identity, and they sometimes flag correct sentence as possible run-ons. You can use this Grammer Checker tool which we have review ourselves and see that it’s accurate.

As you have already know, it all has to do with rules. Like people used to say, A place without law has no crime .

Rules That Guide The Usage Of Semicolon

Rule 1

Use a semicolon between closely related independent clauses not joined with a coordinating conjunction

When related independent clauses appear in one sentence, they are ordinarily linked with a comma and a coordinating conjunction which are your Fanboys {for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so}. The coordinating conjunction signals the relation between the clauses . If the clauses are closely related and the relation is clear without a conjunction, they may be linked with a semicolon instead.

For example, let take this familiar example:

a} Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

b} When I was a boy, I was told that anybody could become president; I’m beginning to believe it.

A semicolon must be used whenever a coordinating conjunction has been omitted between independent clauses. To use merely a comma creates a kind of run-on sentence known as a comma splice.

Another example:

c} In 1800, a traveller needed six weeks to get from New York City to Chicago,; In 1860, the trip by railroad took only two days.

In the sentence above, you will see that there is a comma and also a semicolon, in this case, this is an example of misused semicolon. A comma is all what is needed there.

Note : Do not overuse the semicolon as a means of revising run-on sentence.

Rule 2

Use a semicolon between independent clauses linked with a transitional expression.

Transitional expressions include conjunctive adverbs and transitional phrases.

I believed you know what conjunctive adverbs are because I could remember i have taught you before. Examples of conjunctive adverbs are:

also, anyway, accordingly, finally, conversely, besides, certainly, consequently, subsequently, furthermore, otherwise, likewise, therefore, then, now, meanwhile, hence, however, moreover, nevertheless, thus, similarly, incidentally, specifically, still, indeed, instead, next, nonetheless.
Examples of transitional phrases are:

as a matter of fact, after all, in fact, on the other hand, on the contrary, even so, as a result, for example, in the first place, for instance, in addition, at any rate, at the same time, in conclusion.
When a transitional expression appears between independent clauses, it is preceded by a semicolon and usually followed by a comma.

For example:

a} Many corals grow very gradually;, in fact, the creation of a coral reef can take centuries.


Many corals grow very gradually,; in fact, the creation of a coral reef can take centuries.

But when a transitional expression appears in the middle or at the end of the second independent clause, the semicolon goes between the clauses

For example:

b} Most footballer gain fame through hard work and dedication,; messi, however, found other means.

Note : Transitional expressions should not be confused with the coordinating conjunctions{Fanboys} which are preceded by a comma when they link independent clauses.

Rule 3

Use a semicolon between items in a series containing internal punctuation

For example:
a} Classic science fiction sagas are Star trek, with Mr. Spock,; Battlestar Galactica, with Cylon Raiders,; and Star Wars, with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader.

If you look at this sentence, without the semicolons, the reader would have to sort out the major groupings, distinguishing between important and less important pauses according to the logic of the sentence. By inserting semicolons at the major breaks, the writer does this work for the reader.

Rule 4

Avoid common misuses of the semicolon.

Do not use a semicolon in the following situations.

1) Between A Subordinate Clause And The Rest Of The Sentence

a} Unless you brush your teeth within ten or fifteen minutes after eating;, brushing does almost no good.

2) Between An Appositive And The Word It Refers To

b} The scientists were fascinated by the species Argyroneta acquatica;, a spider that lives underwater.

3) To Introduce A List

c} Some of my favorite film stars have home pages on the Web ,; Uma Thurman, Billy Bob Thornton, and Halle Berry.

4) Between Independent Clauses Joined By Fanboys{for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so}

d} Five of the applicants had worked with spreadsheets;, but only one was familiar with database management.


If at least one of the independent clauses contains internal punctuation, you may use a semicolon even though the clauses are joined with a coordinating conjunction.

Although in the exception stated above, a comma can also be used but a semicolon will be effective because the semicolon will indicate the relative weights of the pauses.

Occasionally semicolon may be used to emphasize a sharp contrast or a film distinction between clauses joined with a coordinating conjunction.

For example:
e} We hate some people because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them.

Those are the rules and exceptions that guide the usage of the semicolon. You can use this tools to check your grammatical errors, also visit this page to review the list of recommended academic materials.

Now let take few more questions on the usage of the semicolon before we call it a day. I will do one or two for you and you will do the rest.

Questions On The Usage Of The Semicolon

Add commas or semicolons where needed in the following sentences.

1) If an animal does something, we call it instinct; if we do the same thing, we call it intelligence.

2) Love is blind; envy has its eyes wide open.

a} When men talk about defense they always claim to be protecting women and children but they never ask the women and children what they think.

b} Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.

c} I have been rich and I have been poor rich is better.

d} We don’t know what we want but we are ready to bite someone to get it.

e} Once the children were in the house the air became more vivid and more heated every object in the house grew more alive.

f} America is a country that doesn’t know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there.

Check and correct following sentences to correct errors in the use of comma and the semicolon.
h} It is not surprising that out society is increasingly violent, after all, television desensitizes us to brutality at a very early age.

i} There is often a fine line between right and wrong; good and bad; truth and deception.

j} At Weight Watchers, we believe that being fat is not hereditary, it is a choice.

k} Another delicious dish is the chef’s special; a roasted chicken rubbed with spices and stuffed with wild rice.

l} We all assumed that the thief had been vickie’s boyfriend; even though we had see him only from the back.

m} Some educators believe that African American history should be taught in separate courses, others prefer to see it integrated into survey courses

n} Martin Luther King Jr. had not intended to be a preacher, initially, he had planned to become a lawyer.

Try to attempt those questions, and after that you can use this grammer checker tool to check your grammatical errors. Also visit our recommended academic materials page to see other recommended materials.
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