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Topic: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

Have questions about grammar and punctuation? This is the place to come.
Keep in mind that this group will be using the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition to determine what's correct. If you are from a foreign country, such as the UK, and you have different rules, I don't suggest coming here for grammar and punctuation help. It will inevitably be different. If you are planning to publish in the US, though, these guidelines will help you learn and polish your knowledge.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

How does one know when to use a semi-colon instead of a comma? I've always had trouble with this.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

Tabitha Angel wrote:

How does one know when to use a semi-colon instead of a comma? I've always had trouble with this.

Here's the deal with semicolons:
They're not to be seen as anything close to a comma. Think of semicolons as a "swinging gate." I stole that term from a grammar book, but it was a good analogy. It's not a wall like a period, but it's not a gap in the wall like a comma either. Semicolons have a few uses, but the most common use is to separate two related but complete sentences.
For example:
"Judy went to the store. She bought eggs, milk, and bread." One could use a semicolon here instead of the period. Is it needed? No, not really. But its use wouldn't be wrong.
"I liked watching Infinity War; that one scene toward the end was intense." This is a better use of it, but I'd just use your judgment.

You can't use a semicolon in place of a comma, unless you're fixing a comma splice.
For example:
"Mitchell missed his motorcycle, it was his old man's."
This is a comma splice, meaning two independent clauses (complete sentences) have been smooshed together with a comma. It's just incorrect. To fix this, you can make the comma a period or a semicolon.
"Mitchell missed his motorcycle. It was his old man's."
"Mitchell missed his motorcycle; it was his old man's."
The subjects don't have to be the same, but the topic should be. If the first half of the sentence discusses beer, so should the second half (or at least another alcohol).

Both sides need to have complete sentences.
"Eric had an apetite; Jeanie, not so much."
This is incorrect because "Jeanie, not so much" is not a complete sentence. Fragments are wonderful things. I use them all the time. Don't use them with semicolons. Just use a period.

If you need anymore clarification, let me know!

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

Tabitha Angel wrote:

How does one know when to use a semi-colon instead of a comma? I've always had trouble with this.

I just don't use semicolons. Just used a comma then a word such as "then" to continue the sentence.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

creeperarmy100 wrote:
Tabitha Angel wrote:

How does one know when to use a semi-colon instead of a comma? I've always had trouble with this.

I just don't use semicolons. Just used a comma then a word such as "then" to continue the sentence.

Be careful with using a comma with "then." You can get yourself into trouble with comma splices, which might not seem like much, but are really the evil, easy-to-make mistake among novice writers.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

Lemon Jell-O wrote:
dsquala wrote:

It's not a wall like a period, but it's not a gap in the wall like a period either.

How can a period be a wall and the gap in the wall?

*facepalm* I meant a comma for the second one. It is now edited. This is what I get for writing grammar posts while hungry and tired.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

dsquala wrote:
creeperarmy100 wrote:
Tabitha Angel wrote:

How does one know when to use a semi-colon instead of a comma? I've always had trouble with this.

I just don't use semicolons. Just used a comma then a word such as "then" to continue the sentence.

Be careful with using a comma with "then." You can get yourself into trouble with comma splices, which might not seem like much, but are really the evil, easy-to-make mistake among novice writers.

Comma splices- wrongly continue independent clauses.
That makes no sense. If they are independent, then they don't need another sentence to connect to.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

creeperarmy100 wrote:
dsquala wrote:
creeperarmy100 wrote:

I just don't use semicolons. Just used a comma then a word such as "then" to continue the sentence.

Be careful with using a comma with "then." You can get yourself into trouble with comma splices, which might not seem like much, but are really the evil, easy-to-make mistake among novice writers.

Comma splices- wrongly continue independent clauses.
That makes no sense. If they are independent, then they don't need another sentence to connect to.

You're right. They don't need to connect to another sentence. They can, though, with a semicolon.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

dsquala wrote:
creeperarmy100 wrote:
dsquala wrote:

Be careful with using a comma with "then." You can get yourself into trouble with comma splices, which might not seem like much, but are really the evil, easy-to-make mistake among novice writers.

Comma splices- wrongly continue independent clauses.
That makes no sense. If they are independent, then they don't need another sentence to connect to.

You're right. They don't need to connect to another sentence. They can, though, with a semicolon.

You can't connect 2 or more inependent events. They can't be connected at all.
Think the same for sentences.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

creeperarmy100 wrote:
dsquala wrote:
creeperarmy100 wrote:

Comma splices- wrongly continue independent clauses.
That makes no sense. If they are independent, then they don't need another sentence to connect to.

You're right. They don't need to connect to another sentence. They can, though, with a semicolon.

You can't connect 2 or more inependent events. They can't be connected at all.
Think the same for sentences.

A killing happens down the street. M.O.? Strangulation. Two days later, a killing happens across town. How? Strangulation.
These independent events are connected. I'm not going to argue with you over basic grammar rules, creeperarmy. It's a fight you'll lose.

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Re: Grammar and Punctuation Questions

How what kind off punctuation rules should I use if I write in Norway and try to write my book in British English?