Joining Independent Sentences


I found these two paragraphs embedded in my tablet dictionary blog this morning. It explains how and when to use semicolons.

A semicolon links two or more independent clauses that are closely related. An independent clause is any group of words that contains both a subject and a verb and could stand alone as a complete sentence. For example: “Chocolate ice cream is delicious; vanilla pudding tastes good, too.” Notice that the two clauses don’t need a conjunction (and, but, for, or, nor, so, yet) because the semicolon takes its place. The semicolon helps establish a strong relationship between the two sentences, and it also helps give the two food items equal importance in the sentence.

You can also use a semicolon with connecting words (such as nevertheless, thus, or besides) to combine two sentences. In the following example, note that the first word in the second sentence (however) isn’t capitalized: “My little brother likes worms; however, I think they’re disgusting.” Capitalization isn’t necessary in this instance because the two sentences form a complete thought.

My granddaughter loves semicolons. I don’t share her enthusiasm.

Maybe semicolons is a quick-fix for run on sentences?

Cormac McCarthy states that a properly written sentence requires nothing more than a capital letter at the beginning and a period at the end. I’ll go along with that. However, quotation marks relieve the reader’s burden of figuring who said what and when.



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