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|English I EOC Assessment||Punctuation Marks|
|Grammar & Punctuation||Punctuation|
...feel free to bust out the semicolon here instead.
Believe it or not, the semicolon doesn't exist just so you can text a winking emoticon.
Nope... this punctuation mark serves to splice two shorter sentences that are closely related
to each other... together. Say you have a paragraph of short sentences.
"Mary hated her shoes. They were too small. They were also ugly. Her mom had bought them on sale."
Too many choppy sentences can be boring for the reader. The semicolon allows you to spice
up your sentence structure, so you end up with...
..."Mary hated her shoes. They were too small -- semicolon -- they were also ugly.
Her mom had bought them on sale."
Your reader is less bored. Yay! Now make them clown shoes and you're really in business...
You also use a semicolon when you want to point out the relationship between two clauses.
Take these two sentences: "Jane's pants were too short" and "Everyone could see
her hairy ankles."
There's a clear relationship between these two sentences. So why not string them together
with a semicolon?
Then you end up with, "Jane's pants were too short -- semicolon -- everyone could
see her hairy ankles." You never use semicolons with coordinating
conjunctions like "and", "or", and "but"...
...with one exception.
For example, say you have the sentence, "Sara has a shrine to Twilight in her room, but
she hides it from her friends."
Here, the punctuation mark between "Twilight" and "but" needs to be a comma.
Now for the exception. Say your sentence is, "Lots of girls have Twilight shrines, including
Sara in Muleshoe, Texas -- semicolon -- Leslie in Stop, Arkansas -- semicolon -- and Linda
in Hellhole Palms, California."
Because you're listing girls with Twilight shrines in this sentence...
...and because commas are already being used to separate cities from states...
...semicolons are needed to separate each girl in the list from the others.
One instance where you always use a semicolon is when a conjunctive adverb is in play.
Conjunctive adverbs include words like "however", "therefore", and "indeed".
Say you have two sentences: "I put off writing my paper all week"...
...and, "Therefore, I will be pulling an all-nighter."
If you want to combine these two sentences into one, you'd insert a semicolon between
"week" and "therefore", and end up with...
..."I put off writing my paper all week -- semicolon -- therefore, I will be pulling
an all-nighter." If you're having trouble remembering that
coordinating conjunctions require commas...
...and conjunctive adverbs need semicolons...
...try this trick. Coordinating conjunctions are small words like "and", "or",
...and they need small commas.
Conjunctive adverbs are bigger words like "however", "therefore", and "indeed"...
...and they need the bigger semicolon. Anyway... we know Lila's your bestie and
all, but...might we recommend you get some new friends?