It is a form of punctuation that looks like this: ;
Semicolons are versatile little pieces of punctuation that can be used to enhance one's writing, when not overused. Semicolons function to join two clauses or to separate items in lists. A semicolon indicates a moderate pause, as opposed to a period, which calls for a complete stop, or a comma, which warrants a brief pause.
1) Use a comma when joining two independent, complete sentences with a conjunction (and, or, but, yet, nor, so, for). Use a semicolon when joining them without a conjunction. The most often used conjunctions are .
For example: Edwayne ate chicken livers for dinner; he ate brains and eggs for breakfast.
2) Use semicolons between items in a series when each item contains a comma.
For example: She thought of escaping to Honolulu, Hawaii; Mulholland, Massachusettes; Nowhere, New Mexico.
3) A semicolon precedes a conjunction joining two sentences when the first sentence contains a comma.
For example: While heat rose in watery waves from the pavement, she pressed the accelerator; but, she felt nothing as the car passed through what she had always thought of as a barrier.
4) Use a semicolon between the first and second sentence when the second sentence begins with an introductory word (however, nonetheless, therefore, thus, namely, etc.).
For example: She felt like nothing could stop her now; nonetheless, sirens wailed somewhere in the distance.
5) Consider This! Do NOT use a semicolon to join two sentences that have no relationship to each other. Semicolons give impact to sentences that either express opposing ideas or that have strongly related ideas.
For example: Backing out the driveway on Thursday, she hit the mailbox and knocked the rearview mirror off of the car; it was no great loss. She had no plans to get it fixed. The Alabama border was calling her onward.
This A to Z stuff is wearing me out; a nap is in order. I used a semicolon there because I needed a moderate pause. I might be tired, but I don't plan to stop. Period.
Tomorrow: Then v. Than
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