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  • Did you see Survivor last night; it was crazy, right?
  • Did you see Survivor last night? It was crazy, right?

Can a semicolon separate questions? Which one is correct?

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closed as not constructive by Carlo_R., Kristina Lopez, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, aedia λ, MετάEd Feb 7 '13 at 21:31

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Do you have something against commas? –  terdon Feb 7 '13 at 18:34
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Normally, this is not done. You would only do that when the first part is truly part of the whole sentence headed by the last part. –  Cerberus Feb 7 '13 at 18:49
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@terdon a comma would only make matters worse, creating a comma splice. –  RegDwigнt Feb 7 '13 at 19:52
    
@RegDwighт yes, that's what AndrewLeach also pointed out. I am far from an expert but it does seem to me that the evils of comma splices are slightly overstated. Especially in cases, as is this one, where the written text is a dialogue which follows the forms of spoken language. See, the very nice quotation on wikipedia –  terdon Feb 7 '13 at 19:55
    
possible duplicate of Am I misusing the semicolon? –  aedia λ Feb 7 '13 at 21:23
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3 Answers 3

A semicolon ends a statement which is followed by a related statement; it cannot end a question.

It's possible to argue "But I just used it to end a question," but because a semicolon ends a statement, you have turned your question into an ungrammatical statement.

The punctuation mark which indicates a question is a question mark ?.

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I've never seen a semicolon used to separate questions. The semicolon requires almost as much of a pause as a question mark, but without communicating that the statement is a question. I think an ellipsis or even a comma might have value in writing (e.g., for a very excited person's speech), but to me the semicolon is too awkward to have any use here.

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As AndrewLeach said, use of a semicolon turns the first phrase into a statement, not a question. A comma, on the other hand, would be perfect:

Did you see Survivor last night, it was crazy, right?

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But this is a comma splice, which is Not A Good Thing. –  Andrew Leach Feb 7 '13 at 18:56
    
@AndrewLeach good point. Better now? –  terdon Feb 7 '13 at 19:08
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It wasn't that comma which was the problem. It's now missing a comma where it needs one (before a question tag) and has a comma where one isn't right (in the middle). –  Andrew Leach Feb 7 '13 at 19:11
    
@AndrewLeach OK I see what you mean now. For some reason it does not bother me. It may be my ignorance (very likely) or it may be that this is dialogue –  terdon Feb 7 '13 at 19:23
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