1. Boysarn
    Offline

    Boysarn Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    2

    Question about ;

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Boysarn, Mar 4, 2011.

    Hey!

    Word keeps bugging me about ; (semicolon), never learned about it in school so I'm wondering what the general rule to use it is comapred to a regular comma?

    For example in the following sentance, I wrote it as:
    Word wanted:
    Why isn't a regular , enough?

    Thanks!
     
  2. JMTweedie
    Offline

    JMTweedie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London UK
    I'm no expert but it looks like you have two seperate sentences that work well as they are and should be separated by a full stop. You could try that.

    A semi colon is used for listing things, usually. Maybe Word thought you were listing sentences? Hard to say.
     
  3. Boysarn
    Offline

    Boysarn Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    2
    Inserting full stop would work but I feel that I kind of lose the "flow" of the story, know what I'm saying? A regular comma works though, yes?
     
  4. JMTweedie
    Offline

    JMTweedie Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    London UK
    I think it looks better with a full stop. I'm a bit picky about being grammatically correct, although I do make mistakes myself.

    In my opinion it flows well as two separate sentences. The comma looks out of place.

    You would use a comma if you had written:

    She stepped softly over to the old wooden chair where the professor sat, breathing deeply.

    As you can see the words after the comma would not constitute a full sentence on their own. You could then create a sentence to describe that this was the only sound in the room etc.
     
  5. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    A semi colon is for joining two closely related but complete sentences.

    You can use either - a sentence is just a collection of words that make sense together. Beginning with a capital letter and ending in a fullstop. How you choose to divide up that sentence is a matter of style and courtesy to the reader.

    However a semi colon would do what you want it provides a fullstop, whilst maintaining the flow, and joining those two completed sentences.
     
  6. Boysarn
    Offline

    Boysarn Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    2
    That makes perfect sense, will practice using semi colon more as it fullfiles my purpose perfectly; Two different sentances while maintaining the flow. Thank you both!
     
  7. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    You are right. Here you have two independent clauses, and without a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, yet, and so) to go with it, you have a comma splice.

    You can separate two independent clauses with the period [.], the exclamation point [!], the question mark [?], and the semicolon [;]. Here, [;] suits the best.
     
  8. zaffy
    Offline

    zaffy Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  9. SeverinR
    Offline

    SeverinR Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    New Madison Ohio
    This is helpful.

    Manav helped me too.

    Word was always flagging my sentences and I didn't understand why.
    Thanks.
     
  10. Reggie
    Offline

    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    USA
    Or maybe you can add a clause at the begning of the sentence, thus, making the first part of the sentences become a subordinate sentence, which needs the second part of the sentence to make sense. Therefore, a simon collin is not needed. Instead, a comma may be needed, I think. I'm no good at English.
     
  11. Terry D
    Offline

    Terry D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Southeast Iowa
    Here's the rule as it appears in The Elements of Style, by E.B. White

    If two or more clauses, grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction, are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.

    Stevenson's romances are entertaining; they are full of exciting adventures.
    It is nearly half past five; we cannot reach town before dark.


    It is of course equally correct to write the above as two sentences each, replacing the semicolons by periods.

    Stevenson's romances are entertaining. They are full of exciting adventures.
    It is nearly half past five. We cannot reach town before dark.


    My note: let the flow of the paragraph be your guide as to which way to go with this. Avoid over-using the semicolon.
     
  12. nuwriter*me
    Offline

    nuwriter*me Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, the semicolon is legal as long as you have a verb in the second independent clause; otherwise, we may use the dash. (But, I'm no expert.)
     
  13. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    No. It is called a run-on sentence, and a comma in that case is considered a mistake. As JMTweedie has pointed out, you can use a full stop. If you feel that the result doesn't flow well then yes, a semicolon is just the thing. One of the common uses for a semicolon is to join two closely related sentences without the need for a conjunction, just as Word has suggested to you. (Word does get it right sometimes!)

    There are other uses for the semicolon, such as separating items in a list where the items themselves contain commas, but that's more for technical writing than creative writing.
     
  14. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    If you right click on the wiggly underline you get a popup menu in which one of the options is to explain the grammar.
     
  15. Forkfoot
    Offline

    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    San Francisco bay area
    Pretty sure it's for "winking" when you make a smiley face.
     
  16. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    Dude, it's a transvestite hermaphrodite.
     

Share This Page