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Is 1 or 2 correct? Or neither?

  1. I'm not saying I'm Batman, but answer me this; have you ever seen me and Batman in the same room?
  2. I'm not saying I'm Batman, but answer me this. Have you ever seen me and Batman in the same room?
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closed as general reference by MετάEd, Andrew Leach, tchrist, coleopterist, Cameron Oct 16 '12 at 6:15

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
The presumptions may be wrong, the question is genuine. No negative votes are warranted. –  Kris Oct 15 '12 at 12:08
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3 Answers 3

I would use either a comma or a colon or, as you've done in sentence 2, a separate sentence:

"I'm not saying I'm Batman, but answer me this, 'Have you ever seen me and Batman in the same room?'"
"I'm not saying I'm Batman, but answer me this: 'Have you ever seen me and Batman in the same room?'"

Using a semicolon would be my fourth choice.

Punctuation rules are often simply a matter of intuition, feeling, or some other type of personal style choice. I wouldn't say using the semicolon is right or wrong, just least desirable to me. Others may disagree.

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+1, but I don't think a semi-colon would ever be appropriate here. –  Barrie England Oct 15 '12 at 6:29
    
Using a semicolon would never be my choice for reasons other than grammatical. –  Kris Oct 15 '12 at 7:15
    
I agree with both of you: I'd never use a semicolon. The other three make sense to me, but the semicolon doesn't. But, as you've undoubtedly seen today, sometimes taking a stand about what seems to be obvious, can lead to a food fight or to learning that what you thought was an unalterable fact of linguistic analysis ("there are only two tenses in English") is in serious dispute among the professionals in the field. I think I'm going to become less rigid in my approbations & disapprovals from here on. :-) –  user21497 Oct 15 '12 at 8:15
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I would use either a colon or an em-dash, depending on my mood. A semi-colon seems wrong to me, as the "this" in the first part of the sentence is grammatically related to the second part of the sentence. A comma also seems like a poor choice, as a larger separation is really in order.

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"I'm not saying I'm Batman, but answer me this; have you ever seen me and Batman in the same room?"

The semicolon is just wrong: It defeats the purpose of juxtaposing the two semantic entities.

Grammar cannot say it is incorrect so long as the structure of the sentence obeys the rules of grammar. However, consider the two parts:

I'm not saying I'm Batman, but answer me this

This introduces the context and draws attention to the main subject coming up. While so, it is semantically incomplete, so not exactly a 'sentence'. It cannot be terminated with a period; nor with a semicolon. (Once again, not in terms of grammar). Think of it as no more than Tell me.

have you ever seen me and Batman in the same room?

A complete sentence. This is the subject: the point that the speaker wanted to convey, following the intro. The introducing segment literally should lead the reader here. The natural choice of punctuation for the previous part therefore, would be a full colon.

You can now see the justification for and the rationale of not using a period or semicolon between the two.

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