One thing I come across on a regular basis is the abuse of the poor semicolon.
Reasons to use a semicolon are:
- Reduce the number of short sentences in a paragraph.
- Emphasise the relationship between two clauses.
- Introducing a list where commas will confuse the reader.
A golden rule to remember when using a semicolon is that it is used to separate related things that would still make sense on their own. An example would be…
The temperature was freezing; John felt cold.
The above would make just as much sense if a period were used. Don’t fall into the trap of using a semicolon in place of a comma – they are not interchangeable.
The temperature was freezing; and John felt cold.
Never use capitals after a semicolon – unless you’re using a proper noun.
I think we’ll work well together; We have the same attitude.
I think we’ll work well together; we have the same attitude.
You can’t use semicolons when there is an initial dependent clause.
Despite the sunshine; it was cold.
Despite the sunshine, it was cold.
If you have any questions (or suggestions), then please leave a comment or drop me a line using the Contact Form.