Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Grammar Grind~The Sem;colon

This Phat Beat I'm Bustin' is for MC Brenda Dyer...

Everytime you see me, I'm just so hype; I'm dope on the floor and I'm magic on the mic.
-MC Hammer, You Can't Touch This

Did you just bop your head up and down; recall trying to master the MC Hammer or his infamous typewriter? I bet you had a pair of Hammer Pants, didn't you? Hee hee. I did.

The Semicolon is
not a semi-automatic weapon;
a semi-formal; 
a semi-truck;
or the Movie Semi-Pro.
I wouldn't suggest getting a tattoo.
Just read my post.

This is a SEMICOLON.

The following lesson is from my FAVE Grammar Site- GRAMMAR BYTES.

I highly reccomend visiting this site. Their motto is: GRAMMAR WITH ATTITUDE. How me!

They even have lessons on YOUTUBE.

They have exercises where they explain the answer, right or wrong! Here is the link to the lesson on semicolons below.

Recognize a semicolon when you see one.

The semicolon [ ; ] is a powerful mark of punctuation with three uses.

The first appropriate use of the semicolon is to connect two related sentences. The pattern looks like this:

complete sentence + ; + complete sentence.

Here is an example:

Grandma still rides her Harley motorcycle; her toy poodle balances in a basket between the handlebars.

A semicolon can also team up with a transition—often a conjunctive adverb—to connect two sentences close in meaning. The pattern looks like this:

complete sentence + ; + transition + , + complete sentence.

Check out this example:

My father does not approve of his mother cruising around town on a Harley motorcycle; however, Grandma has never cared what anyone thinks.

Finally, use the semicolon to avoid confusion when you have complicated lists of items. The pattern looks like this:

item + , + more information + ; + item + , + more information + ; + and + item + , + more information

Read the following example:

On a Harley motorcycle, my grandmother and her poodle have traveled to Anchorage, Alaska; San Francisco, California; and Tijuana, Mexico.

Keep these three things in mind when you use a semicolon:

The two main clauses that the semicolon joins should be closely related in meaning.

Don't capitalize the word that follows the semicolon unless that word is a proper noun, one that is always capitalized.

Limit your use of semicolons; you should not scatter them wantonly throughout your writing. Semicolons are like glasses of champagne; save them for special occasions.

PURDUE University has a wonderful online Writing Lab. Eventhough it is geared for their students it has great refreshers and tips for ALL writers. Here you can peruse handouts and print great resources. A must read site!

Semicolons-from the PURDUE OWL Website:

Semicolon (;)

Use a semicolon when you link two independent clauses with no connecting words. For example:

I am going home; I intend to stay there.
It rained heavily during the afternoon; we managed to have our picnic anyway.
They couldn't make it to the summit and back before dark; they decided to camp for the night.

You can also use a semicolon when you join two independent clauses together with one of the following conjunctive adverbs (adverbs that join independent clauses): however, moreover, therefore, consequently, otherwise, nevertheless, thus, etc. For example:

I am going home; moreover, I intend to stay there.
It rained heavily during the afternoon; however, we managed to have our picnic anyway.
They couldn't make it to the summit and back before dark; therefore, they decided to camp for the night.

OK. CHALLENGE: Do I use the SEMICOLONS CORRECTLY at the beginning of the post? You will see them enlarged.

Shoo. Go practice. 


  1. If yer not in Scotland ... ye better be writing Paddy ... shoo!

  2. Eh-hem. I wrote this post from Scotland. I doona see ya here, lassie. Where ye be?

  3. C, how can I ever thank you for this great lesson and for all the great info on the semicolon. I wrote down the links to the sites you posted--the vid on youtube was awesome--the tunes too, lol.
    I think I'm getting it. LOL, I honestly think it is sinking in.
    Hmmm, I may even think about getting a smicolon tat. I think it looks kinda cool, lol.
    Oh and yep, I did have a pair of MC Hammer pants--black.
    Thanks again for the awesome post.

  4. Glad to be of help Brenda. Grammar takes practice to sink in. Even then I fumble all the time.

    I had a pair of black hammers too. Hee hee.

  5. I would go still further about when to use the semi-colon. The two independent clauses should mean more together than if they were read as separate sentences.

    An example would be:
    It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

    I love semi's. But their job is specialized. If the joining does not enhance the meaning in totality, then stick to a period.

    Together they mean something very different than when read as separate sentences. As separate sentences, the writer seems confused.

    Together with a semi, the writer seems profound.

    And since I look for a profound relationship, I didn't like any of your examples.

    Now someone is going to recall Dickens actually wrote my perfect example of when to use semis with a comma. He did. Per the third rule of usage. The sentence Dickens wrote only begins with the above example and then goes on for half a page with other opposites. However, had he stopped the sentence with just ONE example, he would have used a semi-colon and it would have been a perfect choice.

  6. Thank You Liza! I was waiting for you to comment. You reminded me in a crit about the absolute power of the semi. Hee hee hee. You know you laughed when reading that.

    Now, if you don't like my examples I demand you give us one! You can't snub your nose and leave us empty handed.

    The lessons here are not mine and are limited to general sentences. I told you once you can be the grammar guru here. You write'em and I'll post'em.

    In my own writing I find I have been using them the most with emotional scenes.

    "He loved her now; he'd love her, always."

    Something like that? Come on preacher-teacher. I am not letting you off that easy.

  7. Lol, MC Hammer time!!!

    Love this post! :D

  8. Blog is all concerning regarding the grammar grind with semi colon. And also I bet you had a pair of Hammer Pants. This is funny blog in my opinion.