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Grammar Rule #5

October 16, 2011

Semicolons (;)

Things to know:

1.  Semicolons are substitutes for periods, not commas. Use a semicolon to separate two closely related independent clauses (they can stand alone as full-fledged sentences) that are NOT joined by one of the FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)

ex:  John never stays out this late; his mother as very worried about him.

2.  Semicolons come in handy when you have written two sentences that are so closely tied to each other that separating them would diminish their integrity.

ex:  The momentum was building; they couldn’t be stopped now.

3.  The semicolon basically shortens the pause between two sentences–it’s a shorter pause than a period.

4.  In some cases, you can also use a semicolon to avoid confusion in a series where one or more items contains a comma.

ex:  On his trip, Nick met Allen, a carpenter from Maine; Dr. Jones, a pediatrician from St. Louis; Jonathan, an airline pilot; and me, of course.

Check out this blog post about semicolons!  It’s funny!


1.  Capitalization:  Take a look at this and pay close attention to the exceptions!

2.  I or me? You have a handout.  Check out the link here if you need some visuals.

3. Who or Whom?  You have a handout, but check this site for more explanation and examples.

4.  Using quotation marks properly.  Here’s the link.


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  1. Assignments 10/17 – 10/21 « English III

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