Friday, August 26, 2011

Grammar Friday - Semicolon

If you are right-handed, the scissors should be in your right hand, if you are left-handed, scissors go in the left hand.

The above comma is called a comma splice and is considered grammatically incorrect. What you have here is two complete sentences. The writer either needs to separate them with a period or question mark. or connect them with conjunctions like and, but, or, nor, yet, and so.

Another option is to separate them with a semicolon. You can use a semicolon to signal the reader that the two sentences are closely related to each other.

Bear in mind, however, that a semicolon is considered a soft period and not a hard comma.

Are semicolons your friends? Or do you run from them for fear of using them incorrectly? Or do they just bug you when you read them?

20 comments:

  1. This is all very interesting Donna.
    My grammar is not one of my top subjects but I do try to do things correctly.

    Have a good day.
    Yvonne.

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  2. Semicolons are my friends. I think I use them correctly, but I may use them too often.

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  3. I've often believed myself to be pretty good at grammar, but I'm a little leary when it comes to semicolons. I've been known to use them sparingly. I think my greatest fear is actually the colon.

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  4. freaky picture!
    semi what?
    hee hee

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  5. Yvonne - I know what you mean. But I still find myself asking questions about things I see that turn out I've either remembered wrong or styles have changed. Grammar is like jello--really hard to pin down to the wall.

    JeffO - How often is too often? I've wondered that myself.

    Laila - I feel your pain with the colon.

    Tara - you make me smile.

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  6. I KNOW my comma are used wrongly now :) I like semicolons but I am still unsure where to use them.

    I like your grammer fridays.

    Also the statement at the top is incorrect.

    I am left handed and use scissors in my right.

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  7. I love semicolons. To me, punctuation is like the roadsigns that keep us safe in traffic.

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  8. That makes great sense. I think I would have put the conjunction in rather than attempt the semi-colon. I don't trust those things. :P

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  9. I don't use them often. My publisher's editor inserted a few into my latest manuscript though.

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  10. As an editor I use and respect semicolons, but as an artist I find that they turn off my readers, so I shy away from them in fiction.

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  11. I recently read something that included a quote from Kurt Vonnegut about semicolons. He said, "Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

    I'm indifferent to them. I've used them before, but usually end up editing them out. They don't bother me in the slightest, though :)

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  12. I like semi-colons. I hate reading books that have too many short sentences that are cut dead by the full stop. Semi's make sentences flow.

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  13. What an awesome picture to make us see how two sentences can be alike!

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  14. I used to comma-splice shamelessly until my critters set me straight. Now I'm more careful, and I do use the odd semi-colon -- very sparingly -- when I don't think separate sentences or "and" would sound right.

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  15. I say this every week, but I really do appreciate Grammar Friday. :) Oh, before I forget, there's something for you on my blog today. Have a great weekend!

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  16. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

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  17. Thanks very much for the comments left on my blog Amish Stories. And please be safe out there with Irene coming into our area. Richard from Amish Stories.

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  18. I love semi-colons; coveting them daily. LOL. Great post!

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  19. Great info... I love tips that help me with grammar; since i need so much help in that area.

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