To make your writing croon, use semicolons…
To make your writing croon, use semicolons — they render composition flavourful and easier to swallow. Such are used in sentences as sort of a middle ground between commas and periods—not a pause or a stop, but something in between. Below is a short but inclusive list of the main uses of this type of punctuation.
- Linking two related independent sentences.
For example: The sky was very bright today; its vibrancy is nothing short of spectacular.
The use of the semicolon is helpful in preventing a wordy transition. Like in this case, it can be a stylistic choice to simplify what’s being said and portray a more poetic tone. However, any two independent clauses can use a semicolon, and the use of such can also up the intellectual feel of a piece of writing.
Also, it’s important to note that there’s no capitalization after the semicolon despite it being a complete sentence. That’s one of a few rules you should try to keep up with when it comes to semicolons.
- Connecting independent clauses that relate to each other using a transitional phrase.
Example: The rain was beating down on the pavement; however, in the distance, the clouds seemed to be parting.
This technique is very similar to the first one mentioned, except with the addition of a transition. Notice how semicolons act differently in many ways than periods, in terms of capitalization, stylistic usage, and when they can be used in a sentence. These differences can make them especially useful to switch up sentence structure when writing long paragraphs.
- Between a coordinating conjunction for two independent clauses
Example: In the mornings I read a book, drive my kids to school, and drink a latte; or, I ask my sister to take care of the house while I sleep in.
- During the listing of multiple items that use commas (when discussing the item).
Example: The dogs need constant sunlight, as they’re big and love the outdoors; a full bowl of water, especially in the hot summers; and affection, which is self-explanatory.
Hopefully these tips will help you in your next writing endeavor! Don’t be afraid to experiment stylistically or sound extra smart in your next research essay.