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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (March 28, 2006)
 


Using the Semicolon Well

 

 

 

The semicolon is used between independent clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction but too closely related to be separated by a period.

You may, however, use commas if clauses are short and parallel: E.g.: I'll talk, you listen.

Semicolons are not a substitute for the colon. Be aware of and avoid confusing the two: a colon marks a list or explanation; a semi-colon announces a related, full sentence will follow.

Be sure to review your textbooks and English manuals for more information; nevertheless, make sure you need to use a particular punctuation mark and aren't just using it as a practice.

Avoid "semicolonitis," a rare condition marked by frequent and inappropriate use of the semi-colon. Semicolonitis is cured through a thorough review of punctuation rules and a complete ban on semicolons for at least two assignments!

 

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