As mundane as the topic of punctuation might seem, at some point in our lives we will have to write a piece of literature. As a result, we will need to understand the basics of punctuation and how best to use them. The semicolon is one of those forms of punctuation that most people try to avoid. This is usually because they don't know how and when it should be most appropriately used. The below blog will provide you with the three basic ways that semicolons are used. I encourage you (especially those of you in or thinking about working in the field of public relations) to embrace them on your journey to becoming a better writer.
Uses of the Semicolon
1. To join independent clauses in compound sentences
This is usually for those that do not have coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but, nor, for, so, yet) and commas as connectors. Words like "however," "moreover," "thus," and "therefore," are often used as connectors in these sentences.
Comparisons are often used to emphasize a basic idea; however, they are more often used to explain something complex or unfamiliar by showing how something we don't understand relates to something we do.
E.g There was no running and no shouting; all the children behaved very well; therefore, they will all get a treat.
Working mothers nationally pay an average of $53 a week for child care; this means that many women pay nearly half of their weekly salary to day care centers or babysitters.
2. To separate long or complicated items in a series which already includes commas.
The speakers were Dr. Judith Cornwell, English; Dr. Peter Mortrude, biology; Dr. Shirley Enders, history; and Dr. Charles Viceroy, mathematics.
I have recommended this student because she communicates well with other students, faculty, and staff; completes her assignments ably and on time; and demonstrates an ability to organize people, materials, and time.
3. To separate two long or complex independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction if confusion would result from using a comma.
Ishmael, the narrator in Moby-Dick goes to sea, he says, "whenever it is a damp, drizzly November" in his heart and soul; but Ahab, the captain of the ship, goes to sea because of his obsession to hunt and kill the great white whale, Moby Dick.