English is a vast language with many things in it that make up the language. There are many things that are to be taken care of when you use English and write or speak in it. For example, you have to use proper grammar, vocabulary and most importantly punctuations. Punctuations are the most important part of a sentence formation when you write and even speak from a written slip. Punctuations are what makes a language understandable and gives it life. They tell the reader to stop, pause, give a break or speak a work loudly without actually writing it. It’s the sign language writers and readers use. One of these punctuation marks is the semicolon which isn’t much celebrated of all like the full stop or the commas. But, these semicolons have great uses we all are unaware of. Also, they are to be used in specific places and not just whenever you feel like.
Below are the only ways you can use a semicolon:
What is a Semicolon anyways?
In case you can’t remember what it is, this is what a semicolon looks like. It is the hybrid of a comma and a colon as the name suggests.
Semicolons are sentence gaps.
A colon stops a sentence, a comma brings a small difference. A semi-colon tells the reader to give a small pause between two main points. Basically, you don’t have to change the sentence and neither treat it as one. A small pause and that’s how it works.
Uses of Semicolon.
“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.” is what William Strunk, the man who invented the clause suggested.
“She had a headache yesterday; she couldn’t attend school.”
This statement could also we have written as:
“She had a headache yesterday. She couldn’t attend school.”
This was a statement which was interconnected and it would make more sense if it was said with a semicolon without bigger pause rather than saying it as two different things.
Why use a semicolon instead of a comma.
Commas or full stops could do just fine but there always would be something missing from the statement if semicolons weren’t used. Semicolons glue what comma and colons do together which makes the sentence tougher and stronger.
Where to use them.
As mentioned, when two inter-related statements which are to be said as independent statements, a semicolon is used. They show a closer relationship between sentences than any clause would.
Semicolons are also used in lists.
Sometimes we have seen them being used in lists to separate the items. Semicolons are used like subheadings in lists that separate things from each other without separating them from the entire list.
There’s a list of items you need for food tonight and then some beauty products as well. In a list, you could use vegetables, meat, vinegar; lipstick, mascara, powder. The semicolon keeps everything in your list while also separating it from a different category of products.
When to not use a semicolon.
Never use semicolons after conjunctions like “but,” “and,” or “so”. The correct punctuation mark after them is a simple comma. Avoid using semicolons where only a simple comma could work. You can use them after removing the conjunction words and just write the sentence as it is.