Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: Whereas

  1. Key Member
    Academic
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 2,083
    #1

    Question Whereas

    Hi there. Several times I have met a sentence in which a whereas-clause was given after a semicolon, like this:
    "John went to a circus to see something really boring; whereas Amy decided to see something interesting so she went to a cinema."

    For me, this use is incorrect, as whereas does not begin an independent clause, and I would just use a comma. But I am not the expert here, so please help me with this -- is it a correct use of a semicolon?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,037
    #2

    Re: Whereas

    I'd prefer a comma there, but some people use a semi-colon as a sort of general-purpose 'heavier sort of comma'. I think they're wrong, but it's a widespread practice - and it doesn't make me lose much sleep.

    b

  3. Key Member
    Academic
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Jan 2006
    • Posts: 2,083
    #3

    Re: Whereas

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I'd prefer a comma there, but some people use a semi-colon as a sort of general-purpose 'heavier sort of comma'. I think they're wrong, but it's a widespread practice - and it doesn't make me lose much sleep.

    b
    Thanks, BobK. Therefore, I will use a comma even though it won't help you sleep better (hope you sleep like a baby). In general, "general-purpose 'heavier sort of comma'," as you called it, looks strange to me, as a semicolon joins two independent clauses, whereas a comma should not join independent clauses. Therefore, from the grammar point of view, this 'heavier sort of comma' is just incorrect, isn't it?

    Best,
    Nyggus

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Academic
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,982
    #4

    Re: Whereas

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    Thanks, BobK. Therefore, I will use a comma even though it won't help you sleep better (hope you sleep like a baby). In general, "general-purpose 'heavier sort of comma'," as you called it, looks strange to me, as a semicolon joins two independent clauses, whereas a comma should not join independent clauses. Therefore, from the grammar point of view, this 'heavier sort of comma' is just incorrect, isn't it?

    Best,
    Nyggus
    Punctuation choices have a bit more freedom in standard English than other issues. Some personal style is involved, and there are differences of opinion. In this case, however, I would say that the semicolon use was incorrect for the reasons you've mentioned. Punctuation marks are tools and they were designed for specific purposes. You can use a screw driver as a hammer, but if a hammer were available, why would you?

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •