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I know that a semicolon should be used before a transitional phrase and a comma after, but what about in a sentence like this:

"This study has; however, demonstrated comparable rate, further supporting the use of traps"


"Abundance was; however, higher in the BGS trap"

Is this incorrect? If so, would it be correct to remove the semicolon and comma completely?

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, John Clifford, MetaEd, user66974, jimm101 Apr 1 '16 at 2:08

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A semicolon could only be used here if the word "however" was the beginning of a new independent clause. Since both sentences have only one independent clause each, it would be appropriate to instead use a comma before and after "however":

"This study has, however, demonstrated comparable rate, further supporting the use of traps."

"Abundance was, however, higher in the BGS trap."

Rule of thumb: use semicolons to conjoin independent clauses (where each clause has a subject and predicate).

  • 1
    You might note that however in the OP's example is used as an aside or parenthetical comment, and in that case style manuals usually recommend that these be set off by commas. Semicolons are reserved for the usage of however as a conjunction. Upvote, though. – deadrat Mar 31 '16 at 20:18

A semicolon is used to connect two independent clauses. So it should not be used in this case, as the two sentences are both single clauses. It would be permissible, I believe, to remove the semicolon only but retain the comma.

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