Errors in the use of semicolons

Errors in the use of semicolons are avoidable!

Unfortunately, the two golden rules of the use of the semicolon is an everyday use of the English language punctuation that is commonly ignored.

First, semicolons unite highly related thoughts. Instead of using a period to end too many independent short sentences, a semicolon unites the thoughts and add variety to your sentence structure.

E.g. instead of “Tomiwa likes cake. Toni likes Jollof rice” – because they are two short sentences with the period, you use “Tomiwa likes cake; Toni likes Jollof rice” (the semicolon unites the related thoughts).

The second rule states that before using a semicolon, ask yourself whether the sentence would still make sense if you flipped the thoughts to opposite sides of the semicolon. If yes, then you are on the right track. 

E.g. “As a matter of grammar; I advise you to use the oxford comma”. 

If we flip it, it would still make sense, i.e. “I advise you to use the oxford comma; as a matter of grammar”.

Same for “I have a big test tomorrow; I can’t go out tonight”. (Flip it, and it is grammatically correct).

In conclusion, one must take note that many sentences place a transition word or phrase immediately after the semicolon (example of transition words are, however, nevertheless, despite, etcetera).

E.g. NCDC provides official numbers of those affected with coronavirus; however, we do not trust their numbers.

We can see that semicolons not only make our writings look better, it also unites our thoughts.

So now place your hand on your head and take the pledge “I, (name) will no longer make errors in the use of semicolons.”

Ok, Bye!

For more on grammar, see

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Comments (2)

  1. Oluwadunsin Adebayo



    Thank you for breaking it down for us. 😪


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