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What is semicolon? How to use it? When to use it? Because most of the people either use semicolons in a wrong place, and wrong time. In this tutorial, I am going to show how to use semicolons perfectly.

What is semicolon?

Visually semicolon looks like ” ; ” and the most important purpose of semicolon is, to connect or links the ideas and sentences. Semicolons are used to show that two complete sentences, and both side of sentences should be complete sentences.

when to use a semicolon - Research Tweet 2

"The most important purpose of semicolon is, to connect or links the ideas and sentences"

Look at these two sentences-

“It is raining.” “You should take an umbrella.”

These two sentences are not incorrect. They are perfectly correct and fine, but if you want to write a little more powerfully, a little more effectively, a little bit of more advanced way then you could use or connect these two sentences by semicolon.

“It is raining; you should take an umbrella.”

Why it makes a difference between theses sentences?

Use of semicolon shows that two ideas, first idea or sentence “It is raining” and second idea or sentence “You should take an umbrella” is connected with the first sentence.

Why “you should an umbrella” because “it is raining” here you can see both sentences are connected, and flow is linked with each other.

"Instead of having two short sentences in paragraph, the more powerful way to express is connect two sentences by semicolon"

Let us take another example.

Incorrect: I am not feeling well. I cannot go the meeting.

Correct: I am not feeling well; I cannot go the meeting.

Instead of having two short sentences in paragraph, the more powerful way to express is connect two sentences by semicolon.

Incorrect: The baby is afraid. She does not trust strangers.

Correct: The baby is afraid; she does not trust strangers.

Incorrect: If you bring your towel, sunglasses, and a sunscreen. We can go to the beach.

Correct: If you bring your towel, sunglasses, and a sunscreen; we can go to the beach.

Incorrect: It was raining. The game was cancelled.

Correct: It was raining; the game was cancelled.

when to use a semicolon - Research Tweet 1
"If the second sentence start with transitional expressions, then we could use of semicolon before the transitional expressions and comma after the transitional expressions"

This is most important way we use semicolon. However, if big sentences have multiple ideas or sentence.

How you connect them in one correct sentence?

Incorrect: The scholarship recipients are John from London, United Kingdom, Martina from Chicago, United States, and Steve from Madison, Wisconsin.

Correct: The scholarship recipients are John from London, United Kingdom; Martina from Chicago, United States; and Steve from Madison, Wisconsin.

There are other sentences that are linked transitional expressions or conjunctive adverbs such as

  • However
  • In addition
  • Nevertheless
  • Consequently
  • Therefore
  • Also
  • Thus
  • Still.

If the second sentence start with any of above transitional expressions, then we could use of semicolon before the transitional expressions and comma after the transitional expressions.

"Semicolons also indirectly used to persuade readers such as if you are having any opinion-based sentences"

Incorrect: I always try to pack light for travel. However, I always seem to need an extra language for all of my other stuffs.

Correct: I always try to pack light for travel; however, I always seem to need an extra language for all of my other stuffs.

Incorrect: He wants to study overseas. Therefore, he needs to take TOEFL.

Correct: He wants to study overseas; therefore, he needs to take TOEFL.

Semicolon also used to connect sentences to avoid comma.

Incorrect: The cow is brown, it is also old.

Correct: The cow is brown; it is also old.

Incorrect: She works all day, she takes classes at night.

Correct: She works all day; she takes classes at night.

Semicolons also indirectly used to persuade readers such as if you are having any opinion-based sentences.

Incorrect: People are protesting. The government should reconsider its new policy.

Correct: People are protesting; the government should reconsider its new policy.

when to use a semicolon - Research Tweet 3
Where NOT to use semicolon

When two sentences are incomplete.

Correct: I like staying up late, even though I need to get up early.

Incorrect: I like staying up late; even though I need to get up early.

When two complete sentences are having coordinating conjunctions such as For, And, Nor, But, Or, So, Yet.

Correct: I need to get up early, but I like staying up late.

Incorrect: I need to get up early; but I like staying up late.

When you are introducing some list

Correct: Please bring the groceries: Eggs, Bread, Oil, and Chocolate.

Incorrect: Please bring the groceries; Eggs, Bread, Oil, and Chocolate.

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