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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (October 15, 2006)

Learn to Use the Semicolon Like the Experts!




The semicolon is used frequently in the popular press, but not by everyone. As an exercise, find an article online and use your browser's search function (use the Ctrl key + F to launch the find box; type in a semicolon, then hit "enter") to find each semicolon. When you find an example, copy the sentence into your word processor and have a close look.

Note that for some articles you will find NO semicolons. Others use them frequently. Ask yourself why some writers use them and some do not. If you are not sure how to use a semicolon, check the worksheet, "Using the Semicolon (Wisely and Well)"

Examine how the semicolon has been used in each of the sentences you find. What are the connections of meaning? Are there other ways that the semicolon is used that you find surprising? Do any of the writers break rules of grammar?

Here's an interesting article, TV Dinners,  on the rise of food television (Food Network etc.) from The New Yorker that has at least ten semicolons to get you started.

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