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Semicolons

The semicolon is rarely called for, but it serves several purposes in writing. Use the examples below to learn more.

Independent Clauses Not Linked by a Coordinating Conjunction

--Oh, I often click my tongue; it's my only revenge.
--Nadia was halted and removed in a squad car; they charged her with lurking with intent to loiter, and with wearing someone else's heart up her sleeve.
--The tower was too high; the dungeon was too low.
--A flannel nightgown is transfixed by a religious experience; a silk slip has a close call.

Phrases in a Series, or Elements in a Series that Include Internal Commas

Attending the kickoff of the global warming conference were a paranormal guttersnipe from Trinity College; seven Volga boatmen singing "The Song of the Volga Boatmen"; an extraterrestrial water sprite and his girlfriend from Tulsa, Oklahoma; a hypochondriac with his icepacks and hot water bottle; and a ferry-boater, in a tux, from the River Styx.

Clauses in a Compound, Complex Sentence

--Jacob, who was sitting on the balcony watching her out of the corner of his steel-gray eye, lunged forward to touch her as she passed by; but someone grabbed a fistful of his collar from behind and said, "Lay off my woman, you jerk."

 

 

-- Work Cited:
Gordon, Karen Elizabeth. The New Well-Tempered Sentence. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1993.

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