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In another question this example of semicolon usage is given:

When dinosaurs agree on something, they often high-five one another; dinosaurs are all about high-fives.

However, I have also seen the following style before, where the second part acts like a regular sentence with the first word capitalised:

When dinosaurs agree on something, they often high-five one another; Dinosaurs are all about high-fives.

I can see the reasoning: the semicolon is bridging two sentences. Which one, if any, is correct? Is it simply a style issue?

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May I see an example real-world usage of the second case? I don't remember running across it in the wild before. –  mmyers Sep 4 '10 at 4:33
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@mmyers: I've seen semicolon plus capital letter bazillions of times. –  delete Sep 4 '10 at 14:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

As you say yourself, the semicolon is bridging the gap between two sentences; they become one.

Wikipedia is exceptionally succinct on this:

English usage

Semicolons are followed by a lower case letter, unless that letter is the first letter of a proper noun.

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If the Wikipedia article is attempting to describe usage, then it's failing, since the questioner has seen examples of a capital after the semicolon. If it's attempting to prescribe usage, then it should be saying so. Wikipedia in general is so poorly written that its advice on writing style should be discredited. –  delete Sep 4 '10 at 2:23
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@Shinto: ease up on the downvotes already. Wikipedia has more editors than the Chicago Manual of Style you quoted and it agrees with that Manual, so what's your point? All it takes for that Wikipedia note to be changed is for one single person on this planet to disagree. If there were a controversy, Wikipedia would most certainly mention it, and probably provide references to back up each side of the debate. Yet, that usage note has been there since 2 June 2005 and so far it has only been slightly reworded and moved up the page. BTW, if Wikipedia is poorly written, you can help improve it. –  RegDwigнt Sep 4 '10 at 13:16
    
So you value quantity of editors over quality? When you ease up on the poor answers, I'll ease up on the downvotes. –  delete Sep 4 '10 at 14:02
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@Shinto: the quantity of editors supports your case. You quoted a resource where a few people agree on something, and I chimed in and quoted a resource where a huge number of people agree on the very same thing. I have no idea how that is worthy of a downvote. –  RegDwigнt Sep 4 '10 at 16:18

The Chicago Manual of Style (6.57 - 6.62) uses a small letter after the semicolon, e.g.

Mildred intends to go to Europe; her plans, however, are still quite vague.

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