Friday, June 21, 2013

Grammar Day: Semicolons

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even professional editors can use a second pair of eyes.

Grammar is a tricky subject. With all the rules and exceptions, how can a person keep track? I can't answer that, but I can help with little pieces here and there.

Today's Topic: Semicolons

This punctuation mark couldn't decide if it wanted to be a colon or a comma, so it became both!

Basic Rule: If the words on either side of the semicolon create complete sentences, you're using it right. Unless the sentences have nothing to do with each other.
He liked to dance. He danced all night. --> He liked to dance; he danced all night.
The second clause here wouldn't form a complete sentence, so is incorrect:
He liked to dance all night. --> He liked to dance; all night. 
Commas, not semicolons, are used with conjunctions (and, but, or... See previous post on FANBOYS): 
He liked to dance, and he danced all night. --> He liked to dance; and he danced all night.
These sentences aren't connected, so a period fits better than a comma.
He liked to dance. She ate the blueberries. --> He liked to dance; she ate the blueberries.
Any Exceptions? Semicolons can also be used in complex lists in place of commas. For more of an explanation, view this fun graphic.

I love to learn; let me know what I'm forgetting!

Have a grammatical question? Email me at to learn the answer - and have your question featured in an upcoming Grammar Day post! I'm here to help and encourage in any way I can.

Visit my website to learn more about me, my books, and my proofreading services, or join the Rivershore Books Writing Forum for support from fellow authors.

Still want more? Find me on FacebookPinterestTumblr, and Twitter!

No comments: