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Semicolon

Aug 30, 2022
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Read the following sentences: 

  1. Mary went to church and Mark went to the library. 
  1. I ordered a new pair of jeans but they do not suite me. 

In the sentences above, the succeeding sentences in each pair say something or the other about the preceding ones. The conjunctions ‘and’and ‘but’ in sentences 1 and 2 respectively combine the otherwise independent pair of sentences to make them appear as one single sentence. The resulting sentences thereby formed is called a compound sentence.  

It is also possible to merge two independent sentences into one without using any conjunction. But simply removing the conjunctions and merging them can be barring to the reader as they may not make any sense.  

How do we join two independent sentences without conjunctions? 

This is when punctuations come to the rescue. A punctuation called the semicolon, is used to join two independent sentences without any conjunction in a way that they appear as one single entity and also make sense to the reader. 

Let us know more about the semicolon

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Semicolon: 

To put it in a simple way, a semicolon is a period stacked on top of a comma (;). But that is only its appearance.  

The semicolon is most commonly used to join two independent clauses without the use of a conjunction such as ‘and.’Semicolons cannot be used in place of commas or periods. Instead, they’re somewhere in the middle: let’s say more powerful than a comma but not as divisive as a period. 

It is mandatory for the words preceding the semicolon to form a complete sentence. Likewise, the words following the semicolon should also form a complete sentence, so that the two sentences share a close, logical connection, like: 

  • We are having dinner; he will do the dishes afterwards. 
  • He is an excellent, talented player; the team board will soon announce him the Captain. 
  • Money cannot buy you happiness; it can help you lead a luxurious life. 

A semicolon is also used to separate a series of loosely related clauses, like: 

  • “Her court was pure; her life serene;” 
  • “God gave her peace; her life reposed.” 

Moreover, nevertheless, however, otherwise, therefore, then, finally, likewise, and consequently are called conjunctive adverbs. When the second sentence begins with either a conjunctive adverb or a conjunction, a semicolon should be used instead of a period, like: 

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  • I went out to take a walk; also, I needed to get some cheese. 
  • Marco prepared day in, day out for the test; nevertheless, he couldn’t score the points he expected. 

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