Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.
  • You are right; I'm sorry.
  • You are right, I'm sorry.

Do we use the semicolon or comma? A full stop works. Two independent clauses so perhaps the semicolon should be used.

share|improve this question
All are acceptable, though the meaning may be subtly different in each case. –  Kris Dec 14 '13 at 7:09
Is the second a comma splice? –  Student Dec 14 '13 at 7:14
Not if that's meant. It could mean You are right that I am sorry. (Apparently, not what you meant). –  Kris Dec 14 '13 at 7:17
Great, thank you Kris! –  Student Dec 14 '13 at 7:24
It's probably more common to omit the "I'm" in the written version of the exclamative: "You are right. Sorry. / Apologies." –  Edwin Ashworth Dec 14 '13 at 8:35

1 Answer 1

You are right; the semicolon should be deployed here. I don't like the comma splice, although some will argue that it is harmless and conventional in short informal English constructions like your example. A semicolon would be pedantic when the first "sentence" is reduced to one word: "Yes, it is" or "Thanks, I will". For two words, I prefer a semicolon. A hard case would be when the two words are so familiar as to be virtually one: "Thank you; I will" or ""Thank you, I will"? The pedant in me would prefer the former but not be offended by the latter.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.