Like colons, semicolons shouldn’t be used to attach greater than two clauses and you don’t capitalize the primary word of the second clause. That means they’re for use if you’re dealing with two full ideas that might stand alone as a sentence. And finally, colons can be used to separate two unbiased clauses.

how to use ;

Do not mistake the em dash (—) for the marginally narrower en sprint (–) or the even narrower hyphen (-). Those marks serve totally different purposes and are further explained in different sections. Notwithstanding its versatility, the em sprint is best limited to two appearances per sentence. Otherwise, confusion rather than clarity is prone to outcome. Semicolons symbolize two carefully linked impartial clauses.

Use Commas To Set Off Direct Quotations

Use a semicolon to separate models of a sequence when one or more of the models contain commas. Avoid a semicolon when a dependent clause comes earlier than an impartial clause. A semicolon can exchange a period if the writer wishes to slender the hole between two intently linked sentences. It’s no accident that a semicolon is a period atop a comma. Like commas, semicolons indicate an audible pause—barely longer than a comma’s, but wanting a interval’s full stop. Notice that the letter following the semicolon is not capitalized.

Commas are the most regularly used punctuation mark in most sorts of writing. The purpose for that is that they have so many makes use of and so many guidelines—it may be exhausting to keep observe of them all. Let’s check out just a few of the comma’s crucial capabilities and focus on when to choose a comma over another comparable punctuation mark.


Each item within the record contains commas itself, so using commas to separate the items would result in ambiguity. This could depart you questioning if you should use a colon or a semicolon to connect two independent clauses. If the 2 clauses are merely related, not essentially sequential in thought, use a semicolon.

  • Using commas with compound sentences or to separate clauses with different commas could cause confusion.
  • As for semicolons, you can now join the ranks of grammarians who use them correctly.
  • This is identical effect colons can have upon readers.
  • If it is necessary that you just comply with considered one of these styles exactly, be sure to use the appropriate manual to lookup the rule.
  • A lot of writers have tailored the em dash to suit their own functions.

However, just like the semicolon, it is underutilized in most sorts of writing. It can function like a comma, parentheses, or colon, but creating subtly different effects in each case. A semicolon may be used between independent clauses joined by a connector, corresponding to and, but, or, nor, and so on., when one or more commas appear in the first clause. A lot of writers have adapted the em sprint to go well with their very own purposes. James Joyce—insurgent that he was—used the em sprint throughoutUlysses. Emily Dickinson used em dashes in most of her poetry.

The Decline Of Semicolons

The hyphen, double hyphen, and minus signal have been encroaching on the territory of the em dash with growing frequency in recent times. In most cases, we mark the end of a primary clause with a period. However, a semicolon may be used instead of a interval to separate two major clauses which might be intently connected in that means or that express a clear distinction. Also, because in every case the two clauses are quick and include no different marks of punctuation, a comma would possibly replace the semicolon. Strictly talking, however, that may end in acomma splice, which would hassle some readers . That stated, semicolons may also be used to separate gadgets in a sequence containing commasto distinguish every item from the next group of items.

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