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Proper use of a Semicolen

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ScrapDaddy

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What is the proper use of the semicolen in English?
 

The EGE

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A semicolon is usually used to connect two sentences; it's used when more break than a comma is required. It's not very common in most writing; however, it's useful in academic writing, and I tend to use it rather frequently.
 

powderburner

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It's for when you need to haul a bigger load than what a plain colon will do.

(Get it? semi colon?)

I think The EGE defined it well. Use or mis-use goes over the heads of most folks anyway. If in doubt, skip the semi-colon, use a period, make two separate sentences. Most of us write sentences that are too long anyway (it is very easy to do that, especially when doing technical writing).
 

ScrapDaddy

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To think that this is a thread on TRF scraes me :D
 

gpoehlein

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To think that this is a thread on TRF scraes me :D
Hey, you started it!

My rule of thumb for using a colon vs a semicolon is that if you are stringing two related sentences together, you use a semicolon. If, on the other hand, you are stringing two thoughts together, one of which is a full sentence and the other a sentence fragment (such as leaving out the subject in the second fragment) you use a colon. Sentence structure should be something like this:

Subject action object:action object

Subject action object;subject action object
 

slogfilet

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That rule of thumb is perfect... a semicolon joins together two independent clauses (i.e., complete sentences.) I use them when the second sentence explains, clarifies, or expounds upon the first one. Once you get the hang of them, they's really easy to overuse.

It's kind of like a virtual conjunction... there's usually a word you can use instead of a semicolon that will do the same thing; the semicolon just has a more dramatic effect and displays obviouslysuperior lingwistikal skill.

For instance:

Jane frequently uses semicolons; her obviously superior lingwistikal skills allow her to do so.

vs

John rarely uses semicolons because his inferior lingwistikal skills and lack of adherence to arbitrary conventions of orthography obviously mean he is a moron.




Oh, and you use a semicolon when making a list of things that contains one or more commas already; a "list of lists."

See, that was incorrect usage. Fracking idiot.
 

georgegassaway

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Well, ah, perhaps the proper use first begins with knowing how to spell it?

semicolon

Not semicolen.

:)

- George Gassaway
 

georgegassaway

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It is ironic that a thread about how to use a word keeps involving badly misspelled words.

linguistical (from the word “linguist”)

Not lingwistikal.

I'm not trying to make this some issue or offend anyone. Just figuring that if the thread is supposed to be about how to use words (or punctuation), it should include spelling too.

As for myself, some may often see me botch words I typed. It is due to a severe case of the typos. My fingers do not always correctly type the words I was trying to get them to type... :) Sometimes my proofreading misses them, and sometimes spellchecking software either misses them or accidentally replaces a typo with a different word I did not intend.

- George “Living in a galss houes” Gassaway
 
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Pat_B

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Semicolons are especially useful when quoting people. We usually talk in such a way as to not have distinct beginnings and ends to our sentances. A semicolon is sort of half-way there between two complete sentances and two sentances that are sort of tied together.
 

georgegassaway

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....We usually talk in such a way as to not have distinct beginnings and ends to our sentances.
A semicolon is sort of half-way there between two complete sentances and two sentances that are sort of tied together.
I give up...... :)

- George Gassaway
 
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MarkII

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As for myself, some may often see me botch words I typed. It is due to a severe case of the typos. My fingers do not always correctly type the words I was trying to get them to type... :) Sometimes my proofreading misses them, and sometimes spellchecking software either misses them or replaces with a different word I did not intend.

- George “Living in a galss houes” Gassaway
It is one thing to make typing errors; it is quite another to be unaware of correct spelling and grammar or to be too unconcerned to go back and correct one's mistakes. But aside from that, we all probably realize that there are internet users who have dyslexia to varying degrees. They rarely if ever announce that fact on the network unless the topic is specifically about it. One may also encounter users who have poorly managed ADHD or OCD, both of which can wreck havoc on the person's ability to produce neatly typed posts. So when we see examples of incorrect spelling or punctuation or not quite orthodox grammar, we should at least entertain the possibility that the person is doing the best that he or she can. In order of likelihood, such errors can be due to less-than-proficient typing, carelessness to some degree or another, or else a certain amount of difficulty communicating via text. For the most part, errors are tolerated due to recognition of the possibility of either the first or last factor. We don't always overlook them (that would require the patience of a saint) but most of the time we do. Bad typists usually improve with practice, and people with neurological issues work hard to limit the number of mistakes that they make. For both of those groups, errors become less frequent or at least less glaring over time. It is the lazy folks in the middle category, the users who simply don't care, that are so annoying. :rolleyes:

MarkII
 
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Peartree

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.... Bad typists usually improve with practice, and people with neurological issues work hard to limit the number of mistakes that they make. For both of those groups, errors become less frequent or at least less glaring over time. It is the lazy folks in the middle category, the users who simply don't care, that are so annoying. :rolleyes:

MarkII
Personality plays a part as well. I used to work in a building where the salesmen were next to the engineering office and a friendly rivalry of sorts ensued. Among the things we'd harass one another over was spelling in interdepartmental email. Strangely, sales misspelled words far more often than engineering. We finally figured it out this way: Salesmen *thought* they could spell and often couldn't. Engineers *knew* they were lousy spellers and so all of them made sure that every spellchecker on their computer was turned on.

Spell checkers and grammar checkers will eventually teach you better spelling and grammar.
 

slogfilet

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Just for the record... "lingwistikal" was meant to be ironic. With a degree in Linguistics, I know how to spell it. :D
 

georgegassaway

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Just don’t go asking how to use an “asterick” *.

- George Gassaway

* - It is ASTERISK, but so many say/write “asterick” that it is silly. :confused2:
 
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gpoehlein

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Just don’t go asking how to use an “asterick” *.

- George Gassaway

* - It is ASTERISK, but so many say/write “asterick” that is is silly. :confused2:
Yeah - and then there's the Interrobang! :D

(I leave it as an excercise to look it up if you don't know what it is! :p)
 

powderburner

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.... One may also encounter users who have poorly managed ADHD or OCD, both of which can wreck havoc on the person's ability to produce neatly typed posts. ....
The phrase is not to "wreck havoc," it is to wreak havoc (as in, "to inflict")

FWIW
 

SteveA

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I must have stumbled into a composition course...:eek::)
 

Adrian A

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Thank goodness nobody has brought up the trend of adding an apostrophe to the end a regular plural word for no apparent reason. ;)
 

evil ed

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When my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer they had to take out a section.

She's not thrilled that I now call her my little "semicolon"

Truly Evil Ed:D
 

slogfilet

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Thank goodness nobody has brought up the trend of adding an apostrophe to the end a regular plural word for no apparent reason. ;)

Oh man, that one really rub's me the wrong way!
 

georgegassaway

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Thank goodness nobody has brought up the trend of adding an apostrophe to the end a regular plural word for no apparent reason. ;)
Your right... :)

- George Gassaway

(Should be “you’re”...)
.
.
 

ScrapDaddy

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Wow! Who knew I could start a hot thread about SEMICOLONS :D
 

powderburner

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Wow! Who knew I could start a hot thread about SEMICOLONS :D
And you better believe we're watching you now, you, you, you punctuation abuser!

And for your bookshelf, to keep right next to Stine's Handbook, may I recommend Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.
 
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