I'm really struggling with semicolons and I know I need an independent clause after the semicolon but I feel like that makes the whole sentences flow a bit sharp?

would this be correct: "My prior knowledge of this sector was limited; therefore, I was surprised to learn about the different strategies business used to outcompete different firms"

I know I need to get rid of therefore to make it independent but I feel like the vibe of the sentence would change?

please help and thank you!

  • The semicolon works there, but so would a period.
    – Robusto
    Nov 5 '20 at 21:16
  • @Robusto Isn't it true that most semicolons can be replaced with periods? It's just a matter of how closely related you think the two clauses are.
    – Barmar
    Nov 5 '20 at 22:08
  • @Barmar: Some semicolons can't be replaced by a period, such as those that demarcate complex list entries. But in the main you are right. These days I only use a semicolon when the two independent clauses express an equivalence or an outcome I wish to bind together especially firmly. And half the time I end up changing it to a period anyway.
    – Robusto
    Nov 5 '20 at 22:49

Therefore can be used in an independent clause, so your sentence structure is fine as it is. As you said, a semicolon can join essentially any two independent clauses into one sentence.

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.