Semicolons to extend a sentence
Search
A sentence can be extended with a semicolon when a slight break is preferable to a new sentence. (You cannot do the same thing with a comma. That's called a run-on error, and it's a common mistake.)

Merge Two Sentences with a Semicolon

On occasion, a writer may decide that the next sentence is so closely connected to the previous one that a slight break is more appropriate than a new sentence. A semicolon can be used for this purpose.

Examples:
  • No one was seriously hurt in the accident; one man suffered a broken finger.
  • In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. (Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826)
  • Like dear St Francis of Assisi I am wedded to poverty; but in my case the marriage is not a success. (Oscar Wilde)
  • To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness. (Oscar Wilde)
  • The meeting has been rescheduled for 4 o'clock; this reflects the director's new agenda.

slight breaks preferable to new sentences (The semicolons are okay.)
(magazine article)

  • The manager did not approve the plan; he suggested several changes.
  • A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Winston Churchill)

Semicolons Can Replace Conjunctions

Semicolons can be used to replace words like and, but and or. (These are called Conjunctions.)

Examples:
  • The manager did not approve the plan; he suggested several changes.
  • (In this example, , but could be written in the place of the semicolon.)

  • Eat oranges throughout the journey; you may catch scurvy.
  • (semicolon replaces , or)
IN SUMMARY

You can merge two sentences together with a semicolon. The second sentence is usually short and closely connected to the first.
OVERKILL 

Using a semicolon to extend a sentence is very handy. However, if you find yourself using them regularly, you should probably adjust the style of your writing.
 
NOT A COMMA

It is possible to link two sentences together with a semicolon. It is also possible to link two sentences with comma + conjunction (e.g. , and, , or and , but).

Here's the key part: You cannot use just a comma to link two sentences. This is a very common mistake called a run-on error. For example:
  • Elsa wrote many children's novels, she also wrote fifteen horrors.
  • The Loch Ness Monster was spotted 8 times in the 1960s, I camped there for a year and did not see it once, I caught dozens of trout though.
  • I arranged to meet Jeremy (the new gamekeeper) on the hour, he will have gone home by 10 past.




 
Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook Like Us on Facebook
Search Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter
by Craig Shrives Join Our Google+ Circle
Chat about grammar Ask a Grammar Question
Search Search This Site