Tip of the week
The semicolon is in your tool box of punctuation: use it to improve the power of your writing.
It is heavier than a comma and lighter than a full stop.
Here are 2 ways to use it:
- As a divider in lists which are long and complex: “ Three of them went on the picnic: Richard, who hated wasps; Judith, his sister, who was frightened of bees; and Michael who loathed worms.” The semicolon here helps to distinguish between the three parts of the list and the descriptions of each member.
- As a lighter separator than a full stop when full stops would make the writing very machine-gun like. Instead of “They ran. They eat. They slept” write “They ran; they eat; they slept”.
But the semicolon is not a colon: the colon is used to say “here comes something”, just as I have used it in this sentence.
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