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  1. Dawood Usmani's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Urdu
      • Home Country:
      • Pakistan
      • Current Location:
      • Pakistan

    • Join Date: Aug 2007
    • Posts: 603
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    Question How and when to use semicolon?

    Hi dear teachers!
    (a)Where, when and how should we use semicolon?
    (b)Is the usage of semicolon correct when making a list of things or descriptions like in the sentence below?
    The three pre-requisites are:
    (1) the body being clean;
    (2) the clothes being clean;
    (3) the place being clean.

    Question 1: Is the word " the body being clean etc." correct?
    Question 2: Can we put full stop (period) at the end of each phrase or should we leave them empty or is semicolon right?
    Question 3: Shouldn't we use capital letters at the beginning of each phrase e.g. "The body... etc."? Why?
    Thanks a million!
    Dawood Usmani

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 396
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    Re: How and when to use semicolon?

    Many writers use semicolons too often. Really, should only be used to join two sentences that are closely related, and even then a period may do just as well.

    She no longer loved her husband; in fact, she could barely tolerate him.
    She no longer loved her husband. In fact, she could barely tolerate him.

    Semicolons are not needed with items on a list.
    Capital letters and periods are needed only if the items on the list are sentences.

    The tendency in modern English is to use capital letters less and less.
    Use capital letters only for proper nouns, or at the beginning of a sentence, for titles, for the pronoun "I."

    I suggest you scan a newspaper or news website to see how semicolons are used. You'll notice that they aren't used very often in formal writing.



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