Let’s talk about punctuation(Part 2)

Hey everybody! Welcome to Another Clive’s English Corner post!

Image credit In our last chapter, we discussed mainly commas and periods and their most common uses. This time we will elaborate on the

; Semicolon

It is safe to say that it is one of the most feared punctuation signs out there. People tend to avoid it because some argue that it has a similar use to others. On the other hand, the more variety of structures you can display in your writing the better, for it will be less monotonous to read.

  • Whenever there are two independent clauses, sentences with ideas that can stand on their own, use a semicolon to join them. Remember not to include any conjunctions like we explained before using commas. Here are some examples:

The blockchain technology is amazingly promising; it needs to be explored and developed further to exploit its potential.

Banking the unbanked is one of the most important purposes of cryptocurrencies; allowing people to send funds in a speedy and cheap way is another great advantage.

  • You can also join these clauses by using the semicolon, a conjunctive adverb, and a comma after the adverb. Let’s check this rule using the same examples we used previously to make it as clear as possible.The blockchain technology is amazingly promising; however, it needs to be explored and developed further to exploit its potential.Banking the unbanked is one of the most important purposes of cryptocurrencies; additionally, allowing people to send funds in a speedy and cheap way is another great advantage.

If you do not know what conjunctive adverbs are, think about them as “fancy coordinate conjunctions”. Not following yet? Check out this list and you will see what I mean:

– Result(so): Therefore, Thus, Accordingly, Consequently, etc.

– Addition(and): Also, Furthermore, Additionally, Besides, Moreover, etc

– Contrast(but/yet): However, Nonetheless, Nevertheless, On the other hand, etc.

– Condition(or): Otherwise.

Basically, you could convey the same idea with different sentence structure.

We will take a look at an example using the rules of the comma+coordinate conjunction vs semicolon +conjunctive adverb+comma type of sentences.

The blockchain technology is amazingly promising, but it needs to be explored and developed further to exploit its potential.

The blockchain technology is amazingly promising; however, it needs to be explored and developed further to exploit its potential.

See how similarly they work? Like it was stated before, it is a great way to add variety to your writing style.

  • Whenever the use of the comma is getting a little messy, using a semicolon can be the solution to this problem; in other words, if there are more than two clauses in your sentence, a semicolon can help you prevent a comma splice. For example:

When Elon Musk started Tesla, he wanted to make an electric vehicle that performed as good or better than a fossil fuel one; Tesla cars have set the bar high in both the aesthetic and performance department.

  • If you have a list of items you have to use commas to separate those items right? Yes, you do. However, lists can become a little bit more complicated when these same items contain commas. You can solve this problem by employing a semicolon. Let’s take a look:

I have been very lucky to have visited Sao Paulo, Brazil; Medellin, Colombia; Santiago, Chile; Seattle, USA; and some other cities.

So there you have it! This is just another “color” on your “palette” for you to create your “paintings”. Use this sign wisely and make your writing style full of variety!



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