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I am writing an essay and don't have a fundamental understanding in using semicolons, and in fact writing as well.

My sentence is below:

Group dynamics is the study of the processes and functions of two or more people who interact with one another, the term could also be used to explain the processes that are involved between the group members.

Should I add a semicolon where the comma is (after the word another)?

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I think a period would be better. Do you really need a semicolon? –  Chry Cheng May 5 '11 at 5:03

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The purpose of a semicolon is to separate two independent clauses without fully cutting them off like a period. This gives the effect that the ideas in the independent clauses are closely related to one another. I think that having a semicolon would make your essay seem more connected. Of course, there's always the choice of a period, but for me, it's the semicolon

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Idiot, great explanation to your answer. Much appreciated! –  KerxPhilo May 5 '11 at 7:57
    
@KerxPhilo: What did you mean by "Idiot" in your comment? I really have a problem placing that word in the "greater image". –  SF. Nov 5 '12 at 17:08

Among other usage, the semi-colon appears between closely related independent clauses.
The clauses "Group dynamics is the study of the processes and functions of two or more people who interact with one another" and "the term could also be used to explain the processes that are involved between the group members" give alternative definitions for an expression.
Therefore they are closely related. I recommend to insert a semi-colon.
Source: The new well-tempered sentence, Karen E. Gordon

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Group dynamics is the study of the processes and functions of two or more people who interact with one another; the term could also be used to explain the processes that are involved between the group members.

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The comma is wrong. The semicolon is better; however a period may be the clearest option of the three. –  NateMPLS May 5 '11 at 7:35

Do not use a semi-colon unless you understand its correct usage. It is never necessary to use a semi-colon in modern English, and only very rarely is it the most elegant option.

When you think you might need a semi-colon, ask yourself whether it would be best to use a comma, a dash, or a full-stop.

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1  
That's what he is asking! –  user4727 May 5 '11 at 20:24
    
No, he's asking if he should use a semi-colon. The answer to that is that he shouldn't, he should use one of the other forms of punctuation. –  Marcin May 6 '11 at 7:07

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