Tip #13: Learn To Use Semicolons…Or Don’t



Brian's Writing Tip #13: Learn To Use Semicolons -- or Don't

Learn how to use a semicolon – or don’t. Semicolons are not that difficult to figure out, yet some people are strangely impressed when they see a student use a semicolon correctly. I therefore recommend that all writers learn the correct uses of semicolons and then employ them only when necessary. Don’t go crazy. Don’t look for chances to show off your punctuation skills. Most importantly, never use one when you are not sure about it. A misused semicolon does more damage than one properly placed does you good. Remember: semicolons are not really impressive – they are merely useful on occasion. Author Kurt Vonnegut felt even more strongly about this issue. He once wrote, “First rule: do not use semicolons…All they do is show you’ve been to college.”


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About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. mackage canada
    mackage canada12-05-2016

    Tip #13: Learn To Use Semicolons…Or Don’t
    mackage canada http://www.rcmpcc.ca/web/mackage.asp

  2. mackage canada
    mackage canada12-05-2016

    Tip #13: Learn To Use Semicolons…Or Don’t
    mackage canada http://www.tekpro.ca/images/mackage.html

  3. Elaine

    I don’t often disagree with Write at Home; but today I have to. Semi-colons are necessary! They help avoid choppiness in writing. I would have used a semi-colon in the article above in place of the second dash. Perhaps it’s just a matter of personal preference… I would substitute “dash” in place of semi-colon!

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko04-09-2014

      Thanks, Elaine. There’s room for more than one opinion here.

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