The Not So Humble Semicolon
This oft-neglected punctuation mark actually has a couple of vital uses. There’s no need to fear the semicolon; it’s really quite simple. (See what I did there?) There are two reasons to use a semicolon. The first is to take the place of a period and link two related clauses. Related is the key word here; the clauses must be able to stand alone but also be closely related in subject. I have to be home early tonight; I have a very early flight in the morning. Or: Mr Schmidt was exasperated today; it seemed like there was just one disaster after another. Semicolons are not used before conjunctions such as ‘and’, ‘but’ or ‘so’. When two clauses are separated by a semicolon, there is no need for a conjunction; the semicolon takes the place of a p ...