OUR FRIEND, THE SEMICOLON. Adapted by Algonquin College from content provided by Capital Community College and Professor Charles Darling. Simple Sentences. Let’s begin with a simple sentence: Grandma stays up too late. Now, let’s expand on that a bit:
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OUR FRIEND, THE SEMICOLON
Adapted by Algonquin College from content provided by Capital Community College and Professor Charles Darling.
Let’s begin with a simple sentence:
Now, let’s expand on that a bit:
This sentence works: two independent ideas, separated by a period.
What if we try to combine the two ideas?
Something’s wrong. We connected two independent clauses with only a comma. The dreaded COMMA SPLICE!
We could insert a coordinating conjunction:
This is better! Note the comma that accompanies the coordinating conjunction.
We could also try subordinating one of these ideas:
Notice that the comma disappeared. One idea (the second one) now depends on the other; it has become a dependent clause.
But let’s try something else…
Notice there is no conjunction used with this semicolon – either subordinating or coordinating.
Just the semicolon, all by itself.
Sometimes semicolons are accompanied by conjunctive adverbs – words such as however, moreover, therefore, nevertheless, consequently, as a result.
Notice the pattern:
as a result = semicolon+ conjunctive adverb + comma
This is a typical construction with semicolons.
; as a result,
There is one other use of the semicolon: to help us sort out monster lists, like this one:
Be careful where you insert semicolons in this sentence!