Category: Semicolons

Connecting Sentences with Commas and Semicolons

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Many of you have been asking for help with punctuating between clauses and phrases within sentences. You want to know when you should use a comma and when you need a semicolon. Here are a few rules with examples that we hope you find helpful. Commas Rule: Use a comma between two independent clauses when …

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Composing with Conjunctive Adverbs

Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Many of us probably use conjunctive adverbs without being aware we’re doing so. Further understanding their role aids our precision with their inclusion in our writing. Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that connect related main (independent) clauses. They provide a transition between sentences, typically by comparing and contrasting statements or demonstrating cause and effect. They include …

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Becoming Savvy with Sentence Structures: Part Three

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Sentence structures are the beams of the building of composition. The stronger and better formed they are, the firmer our communication foundation will be. Part One of our discussion introduced us to simple and compound sentences. In Part Two, we explored complex and compound-complex sentences. Let's take a brief look at all four as a …

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Becoming Savvy with Sentence Structures: Part One

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 11:00 pm

The art of writing resembles any trade that begins with the basics and evolves into skillful applications of them. A key component of precise and eloquent composition is understanding sentence structures. English comprises four foundational sentence constructions: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. In part one of our discussion, we’ll review simple and compound sentences. Simple …

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Year-End Quiz 2018

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Another year of grammatical exploration has concluded with linguistic miles behind us. What we’ve learned and discussed with you along the way has been illuminating, and we are grateful for the thought and insight it has inspired. We hope you gathered even more sharpened tools for communicating in concise and eloquent English. A year-end review …

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So Tell Me—When Is It Correct to Use So

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at 11:00 pm

So: It’s among the shortest words in English, and use of it abounds. So, when are we going to meet up? That movie was so good. I so much want to be there. He’s not feeling well, so he probably won’t go to the meeting. The word has become a versatile agent for our language …

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Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons Within Sentences

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at 8:30 pm

Two weeks ago we revisited the case of the lawsuit brought by a group of Maine dairy truck drivers that centered on the proper use of commas. Interestingly, the dispute was "resolved" through the use of semicolons (and cash). In light of that legal case, we thought it would be useful today to review the …

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Oxford Comma Dispute Settled

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at 8:30 am

Eleven months ago, in our newsletter of March 29, 2017, we passed along to you the newspaper article "Lack of Comma Costs Company Millions in Dispute." Our Rule 1 of Commas discusses the value of the Oxford comma in a series of three or more items. Our rule allows writers to exercise discretion as to whether to omit …

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Comma Chameleon

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at 11:28 am

I realize that on the grand scale of interesting things, punctuation is pretty far down the list. (In a recent survey, it was in a dead heat with stovepipes, just behind pocket lint.) Punctuation is a dying art. I’m not sure whether this is the writers’ or the readers’ fault, but I mostly blame the …

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Copy Editors Are People Too

Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, at 9:38 am

There can’t be many books about the life and adventures of a professional word doctor, but one that came out in 2015 is definitely worth a look. It’s Between You and Me, by Mary Norris, a longtime New Yorker copy editor who calls herself a “comma queen.” Norris admits that the book’s very title is a grammar lesson: …

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Punctuation or Chaos

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at 9:43 am

She said I saved the company No one knows for sure what the above sentence means. It consists of six everyday words, and the first five are monosyllables, yet this simple declarative sentence has at least three quite different meanings—maybe more, because with no period on the end, the reader can’t even be sure the …

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Year-End Quiz 2015

Posted on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at 2:31 pm

To close out 2015 we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar posts. The quiz comprises twenty-five sentences that may—or may not—need fixing. Think you can fix the ones that need help? You’ll find our answers directly below the quiz. Each answer includes, for your convenience, the title and …

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The Man Who Hated Semicolons

Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, at 8:34 am

Ten years ago, the author Kurt Vonnegut stirred things up with four sentences he wrote in his final book, A Man Without a Country: “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” One must consider …

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(All About) Parentheses

Posted on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at 9:25 pm

The singular form is parenthesis, but the plural parentheses is the word you’re more likely to see. Both words have a wide range of related meanings, and what some people identify as a parenthesis, others call parentheses. So let’s keep it simple. For our purposes, a parenthesis is one of a pair of curved marks …

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Semicolons

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2009, at 9:56 am

Do you get confused about the proper way to use a semicolon? Semicolons do not represent a full stop at the end of a sentence, as periods do; rather, they're like the "yellow light" of punctuation marks: they signal a pause between one sentence and the next. You slow down, then stop at the end …

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