I’ve been asked to help a friend out and keep his blog up to date while he’s unable to. Sounds delightful until he told me it was his Editors Corner… he’s the editor I’m the writer, rewriter, marketer that kind of stuff… soo… this is what I came up with.
The Semicolon is something Jason (the editor) and I are often conflicted with. This is a pesky little mark in the middle of the page that, for me, disrupts the flow of a sentence. It sits there, separating my goals for the sentence flow and structure and drives me up a wall. Often when the issue comes up, I reformat a paragraph… and my beloved editor finds me entertaining for it. It’s also a very ugly mark, but that’s just my opinion. So… I took some time to look up the proper use of the Semi-Colon and yes, he’s always correct with it.
According to the book Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and EB White, Fourth Edition the proper use of the Semicolon is this:
If two or more clauses grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.
Basically, my understanding is that anything we write that could be two sentences but are intended to be one, should be divided by a semicolon.
For example this is correct:
Mel Comley’s books are entertaining. Each one draws you in completely.
but so is this:
Mel Comley’s books are entertaining; each one draws you in completely.
however, should a conjunction be inserted into the flow, a comma would be used as below:
Mel Comley’s books are entertaining, because each one draws you in completely.
As such, I still dislike the look of semicolons but I’ve learned my editor is always right with them. I am slowly moving toward using them, a little more often. Maybe, one day, someone will find it common among my work, but that day is not today.