Expressive Punctuation: Semicolons

The idea behind the semicolon


There is this thing in English called a semicolon.

It looks like this: 

Semicolon poster from LeDieg

99% 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.

The Glass CastleJeanette WallsSource

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

LuckyAlice SeboldSource

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

LuckyAlice SeboldSource

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.

The Glass CastleJeanette WallsSource
Your turn

Like what you see?

You’re not logged in!

If you want to save your writing, login and either assign this lesson to yourself or access it via your class.