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Any examples of where a full-stop can't replace a semi-colon?

"I stepped outside to check the rain; it calmed down." or "I stepped outside to check the rain. It calmed down."

If the former is correct, then it seems like a bunch of sentences can be joined with a semicolon.

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The first example is indeed correct. You can find out details on the proper usage of the semicolon here. –  Irene Apr 2 '12 at 14:33
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Irene, I much prefer this guide: theoatmeal.com/comics/semicolon :) –  Absolute0 Apr 2 '12 at 14:34
    
And here: (informatics.sussex.ac.uk/department/docs/punctuation/…) 'The semicolon (;) has only one major use. It is used to join two complete sentences into a single written sentence when all of the following conditions are met: (1) The two sentences are felt to be too closely related to be separated by a full stop; (2) There is no connecting word which would require a comma, such as and or but; (3) The special conditions requiring a colon are absent.' –  Barrie England Apr 2 '12 at 14:38
    
Barrie, When is a colon used? –  Absolute0 Apr 2 '12 at 14:43
    
Follow the link and click on the further links at the top of the page. Briefly, ‘The colon is used to indicate that what follows it is an explanation or elaboration of what precedes it. That is, having introduced some topic in more general terms, you can use a colon and go on to explain that same topic in more specific terms.’ –  Barrie England Apr 2 '12 at 14:56
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marked as duplicate by Matt Эллен, TimLymington, Mitch, jwpat7, FumbleFingers Apr 2 '12 at 15:28

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1 Answer

It is correct, yes, and a lot of sentences can in fact be joined with a semicolon. I really don't recommend you get trigger-happy with them, though, and people who ought to know have said that if you're writing for the mass market, there isn't actually any reason to ever use a semicolon. (Your example just as clearly indicates how easily semicolon-compounded sentences can typically be broken up into two full sentences.)

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