# OUR FRIEND, THE SEMICOLON Adapted by Algonquin College from content provided by Capital Community College and Professor Charles Darling.

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OUR FRIEND, THE SEMICOLON Adapted by Algonquin College from content provided by Capital Community College and Professor Charles Darling.

Let’s begin with a simple sentence: Grandma stays up too late. Now, let’s expand on that a bit: Grandma stays up too late. She’s afraid she’s going to miss something. This sentence works: two independent ideas, separated by a period. Simple Sentences

Comma Splices and Coordinating Conjunctions What if we try to combine the two ideas? Grandma stays up too late, she’s afraid she’s going to miss something. Something’s wrong. We connected two independent clauses with only a comma. The dreaded COMMA SPLICE! We could insert a coordinating conjunction: Grandma is afraid she’ll miss something, so she stays up too late. This is better! Note the comma that accompanies the coordinating conjunction.

We could also try subordinating one of these ideas: Grandma stays up too late because she’s afraid she’s going to miss something. Notice that the comma disappeared. One idea (the second one) now depends on the other; it has become a dependent clause. But let’s try something else… Subordinating Clauses

Grandma stays up too late; she’s afraid she’s going to miss something. Notice there is no conjunction used with this semicolon – either subordinating or coordinating. Just the semicolon, all by itself. the semicolon! Let’s try… the semicolon

Conjunctive Adverbs Sometimes semicolons are accompanied by conjunctive adverbs – words such as however, moreover, therefore, nevertheless, consequently, as a result. Grandma is afraid she’s going to miss something; as a result, she stays up too late. Notice the pattern: as a result = semicolon + conjunctive adverb + comma This is a typical construction with semicolons. semicolonsemicolon conjunctive adverb commacomma ; as a result,

Monster Lists There is one other use of the semicolon: to help us sort out monster lists, like this one: The committee included Peter Wursthorn, Professor of Mathematics, from Marlborough, Connecticut, Virginia Villa, Professor of English, from Hartford, Connecticut, Paul Creech, Director of Rad-Tech, from Essex, Connecticut, and Joan Leach, Professor of Nursing, from Farmington, Connecticut. Be careful where you insert semicolons in this sentence! ; ; ;

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