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41

Yes, that's wrong. A semicolon is supposed to connect two related clauses. What you have there is a question and a statement, with a semicolon for the question and the question mark on the statement. Something like "I can't miss you; we've never met." would be proper use of the semicolon. Or, "How can I miss you? We've never met." would be proper ...


40

The comma is enough as the second clause "I was right" is independent. Commas are used before conjunctions (but, and, yet, or, so, etc.) when the two clauses they are coordinating can stand as independent sentences. The semi colon is used when the first clause contains commas. I knew going in that the orange, marzipan and chilli flavor component of ...


30

I don't think I was ever taught a clear-cut rule, and as a non-native speaker, I am probably spoiled to some extent by the usage of dashes in other languages. That being said, following nothing but my intuition I would use: a semicolon when the sentences express related, yet independent (especially grammatically independent) thoughts; they could well stand ...


28

Yes, it is so complicated that you want a clear, concise, and humorous but useful explanation like this: When dinosaurs agree on something, they often high-five one another; dinosaurs are all about high-fives. If you'd used a comma in this sentence, it would have resulted in a comma splice. If you'd used a period, you'd lose the connection between the ...


22

Semicolon is used to join sentences that can stand alone, but are joined to emphasize their relationship. En dashes are used to indicate periods of time or other numerical ranges. Hyphens are used to combine open compounds. Em dashes are used to disrupt the flow of a sentence and bring emphasis to the coming point. It is a more informal and stronger ...


16

Typically, if I'm connecting two closely related sentences, I use a semicolon; I use dashes in instances where commas would also be acceptable—usually where commas would be confusing—or where parentheses would also be acceptable.


16

They are both right. As is I knew going in that the orange flavor component of the cake was going to be lacking. And I was right. Your examples are both compound sentences. There are two independent clauses, joined by a conjunction (and) and separated by punctuation (either the comma or the semicolon). The comma is a softer break, the semicolon, a ...


13

In your example, the first one is correct but the second one is incorrect. Use a semi-colon to connect two related independent clauses. They took the money from the vault; they took it quickly. The ideas are related, the clauses stand on their own, semi-colon is OK here. Use a colon to separate equal things (like an '=' sign). Just remember ...


13

Firstly, you should be aware that there are two different kinds of dashes: the en dash and the em dash. The em dash (—; historically, an em is precisely the width of the letter "M", but now defined by the height of the font) is generally used to add a passage into the middle or end of a sentence. This is similar to using parenthesis, but should be read ...


12

The park has some bears, many deer (which are quite friendly, like to eat camp food, and watch visitors) and other animals, most of which live in the trees.


11

There's nothing awkward about it. It's stylistically somewhat extravagant, but there's nothing wrong with that. It's crystal clear. Some people may stumble momentarily on the use of ellipsis in the latter portion, but it's nothing to get worked up about.


11

It looks like what you really want is an em dash (—) to go with the asyndeton in your first clause: I enjoy kayaking, hiking, tennis, volleyball, skiing — and I really want to learn how to snowboard this winter. The dash turns the balance of the sentence into an anacoluthon (i.e., a change in direction or a break in structure), which is another ...


10

Simply put, a semicolon connects two complete sentences that are strongly related. By doing so, the length of the pause between the two is shorter as compared to a period. If you are unsure whether or not to use a semicolon, the safe bet is to avoid it; replace it with a period instead. Bear in mind that you can never exchange a semicolon with a comma or ...


10

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.


10

To me, it seems to be purely personal preference. The semicolon between clauses suggests a connection between the sentences that is stronger than if there were a period between the two. As (to me) it is generally acceptable to start sentences with the short conjunctions and and but, I believe the general rule can extend to independent clauses joined by a ...


10

I do not believe this is acceptable. The sentence should be rewritten several ways, but not the way you have cited. 1) How could I miss you? We have never met. // Fine. 2) How could I miss you, as we have never met? // Okay. 3) As we have never met, how could I miss you? // Perfect. No matter what, "how can I miss you" is its own interrogative ...


10

This is from Larry Trask’s 'Guide to 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 ...


9

These are my rules of thumb (so they are not meant to be rigorous specifications of when each mark is to be used and when each is not to be used): First, the comma and semicolon have similar functions (though the former is more flexible than the latter), but the colon has a very different function. Either a comma or a semicolon can be used to separate ...


9

There are a couple problems with that sentence. First, a list usually ends with "and (last item)"; you're missing the "and". (There is an argument about whether "and" should be preceeded by a comma; I'm not addressing that here.) Second, if you want to use the semicolon to separate two clauses, then the clauses must each stand alone. Technically "and I ...


9

A comma seems fine. A quick look at google books shows that commas are common here, though sometimes there’s no punctuation at all. I found one case of parentheses, but not a single semicolon. The Economist’s advice on semicolons is to use them: to mark a pause longer than a comma and shorter than a full stop. Don't overdo them. So, it’s seems ...


8

The semicolon is a substitute for the comma and conjunction. Both options are correct, but there is a subtle difference. A semicolon doesn't specify which conjunction. With the semicolon, your sentence could be interpreted as: People say stuff like "all lawyers are liars", and they don't know what they're talking about. People say stuff like "all ...


8

These days it's a matter of style. In my news room, if the list comprises items that are sentence fragments, each item requires a semicolon except the last one, which is terminated with a full stop. If the items are full sentences, each is treated as such - leading capital and trailing full stop. This is a little old-style, and some style guides do away ...


7

I would go with: As you’ll see in my enclosed resume, I have the educational background, professional experience and track record you are looking for. The clauses in this sentence are not "independent enough" to warrant a semicolon. The "for which" sounds a bit complicated. "look for" (make sure, ascertain, anticipate or expect) is better than "a ...


7

There's a simple rule regarding semicolons: they are used instead of full stops. Can you put a full stop in this sentence? No. Hence, no semicolon!


7

No. The first is a comma splice. Both I can no longer remember her face and too much time has passed are independent clauses. They should be separated by a colon, semicolon or period, or linked by a conjunction. An excellent choice for this example is for: I can no longer remember her face, for too much time has passed. The second example is ...


7

The short answer, I think, is that the em-dash makes it easier to read the sentence and thus more likely that the reader will understand your point and want to continue reading. Readers today are inundated with far more to read than ever before, and any structure that forces the reader to do more work will be detrimental to their likelihood of reading ...


7

Hellion's and Evik's answers are already very good, but should you have any more doubts on this topic in the future, you might want to refer to The Oatmeal's Guide on “How to use a semicolon - The most feared punctuation on earth”.


7

Larry Trask advises Use a semi-colon to connect two complete sentences not joined by and, or, but, yet or while. That makes the semi-colon in your example unnecessary.



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