How to use a Semicolon properly

April 24, 2014

Despite the fact that the english language is one of the most commonly used languages on earth… It seems that there aren’t a whole lot of us that know how to use it properly.

The Oatmeal has come up with quite the “edutaining” comic strip that properly demonstrates the correct usage for semi-colons in a written sentence.

According to this comic, semicolons are used to bridge a relationship between two independent clauses.

For example:
Using a semicolon isn’t hard; I once saw a party gorilla do it.

In order to be used properly, each clause should directly relate to each other or be in contrast with one another.

A semicolon may also be used as a “Super Comma” when creating lists of items.

For example:
I’ve travelled to Kelowna, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and San Diego, California.

So when listing items that already use commas as a part of that item, it is then appropriate to use semicolons as SUPER COMMAS.

Let’s practice this new knowledge of semicolons!

“I wear a bow tie now; bow ties are cool”.
“Yoga can be quite challenging; as long as you do all the poses correctly”.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.

Here Endeth the Lesson.

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