8

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?

  • 2
    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
  • 1
    @mmyers: I've seen semicolon plus capital letter bazillions of times. – delete Sep 4 '10 at 14:04
11

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.

|improve this answer|||||
  • I don't understand: Does this answer the question? Are you saying both the sentences in the OP are acceptable? How? – HeWhoMustBeNamed Mar 2 at 15:14
7

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.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.