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The Semicolon (#1), by Dennis Oliver

The Semicolon (#1)

The semicolon ( ; ) is an important punctuation mark
in English; it is particularly common in formal and/or
academic writing. There are several common ways of
using the semicolon; here is one:

Use a semicolon to connect sentences that have
closely related ideas.


He came; he saw; he conquered.

His lips are trembling; he's about to cry, I think.

She always does her best; that's one reason
everyone admires her.

Dave Sperling and his family recently visited
a village near Chiangmai, Thailand; Dave's wife,
Dao, comes from there.

Almost everyone has heard of the Grand Canyon;
it's one of the most famous tourist attractions
in the U.S.A.

Ahmed and his wife are newlyweds; they got
married only a few days ago.



Special Notes:

1. Periods (full stops) could also be used
for the sentences above, but the semicolons
emphasize how closely related the sentences
are. (If periods are used, the sentences
seem "choppy.")
2. Commas cannot be used to join sentences
like the above.
3. Note that when a semicolon is used to join
closely related sentences, a lower case
(small) letter follows the semicolon, not
a capital letter.

Most authorities state that when a semicolon
is used with parentheses (( )) or with
quotation marks (" "), the semicolon should
be outside the parentheses or quotation marks:

Bill said, "I was born in a very small
town"; he went on to say that it's a friendly
place with a population of less than 1,000.

Ms. Jones was probably referring to the
state of Washington (which is in the north-
western U.S.); a reference to Washington,
D.C. doesn't seem very logical to me.



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