Writing: A College Handbook - The Semicolon and the Colon (Ch. 30)


For learning: English

Base language: English


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Created Nov 23, 2008
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You may use a semicolon to join two independent clauses that are closely related in meaning: “Insist on yourself; never imitate.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson) You may use a semicolon to join two independent clauses when the second begins with or includes a conjunctive adverb: “Shakespeare’s plays are four hundred years old; nevertheless, they still speak to us.” For more on semicolons and conjunctive adverbs, see 15.5. You may use a semicolon before a conjunction to join two independent clauses that contain commas: “By laughing at our faults, we can learn to acknowledge them graciously; and we can try to overcome them in a positive, even cheerful way, not grimly and disagreeably.” Use semicolons to emphasize the division between items that include commas: “There were three new delegates at the meeting: Ms. Barbara Smith from Boulder, Colorado; Ms. Beth Waters from Omaha, Nebraska; and Mr. James Papson from Greenwood, Arkansas.”

Through four successful editions, Writing: A College Handbook’s positive approach has not only empowered students to write effectively, it has challenged students to consider why good writing matters. The Fifth Edition builds on this emphasis, exemplifying in clear, engaging prose the skills that students need to communicate in a wide variety of rhetorical contexts. A reliable and easy-to-use reference tool and an up-to-date rhetoric and research guide, Writing: A College Handbook invites students to discover the power of effective writing.