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Semicolons

The idea behind the semicolon

Introduction

There is this thing in English called a semicolon.

 

It looks like this: ;

 

99.9% of people have no idea how to use a semicolon; most people don’t even know it exists. But once you know about it you start to see it everywhere, and it turns out to be a really useful grammatical device.

 

Read the snippets below and highlight the semicolons when you find them. What effect do you think they create?

Suddenly, her eyes grew wide, as if with fear; I realized, to my horror, that her face was starting to melt.

My father loved it; it scared the hell out of me.

Most of the house was ruined; what was any good was so blackened by smoke as to be unsalvageable.

Grandpa was off at the Moose Lodge, where he spent the better part of every day; Lori was taking her bath; and Mom was at the table in Grandpa's room working on a crossword puzzle.