Semicolon Advice From Chryse Wymer

Today I am excited to feature my editor, Chryse Wymer. She constantly embarrasses me by picking up lots of stuff I miss in my own writing — proof that even writers who are editors need editors. Take it away, Chryse *claps*.

Thank you, Dionne Lister, for allowing me to guest post on your blog. You and I both seem to share the same fanatical zeal for proper use of the English language, which is what my blog tour, 30 Days of Linguistic Love, is all about. I’ve been hopping from blog to blog, sharing what I know about grammar, usage, and great writing; I’m even raffling off Amazon gift cards to help you fill up those bookshelves with the basic tools of the writing trade.

I am an American editor, and, in this article, I am using American grammar and usage rules.

My previous three posts covered a comma’s correct usage, and now I’m moving on to a personal favorite: semicolons and colons.

This is the first in a two-part series on semicolons. Follow me tomorrow, for part two on semicolons, on Coral Russell’s blog: http://shelf-stacker.com/

SEMICOLONS AND COLONS

Semicolons

Semicolons separate sentence parts that require a more distinct break than a comma can signal. For fiction writers, semicolons are most often used between two independent clauses not joined by a conjunction, signaling a closer connection between the clauses than a period would, e.g.: “I remember when he first hatched; it was a joyous occasion.” Dionne Lister, A Time of Darkness

Second, the semicolon can sometimes separate coordinate clauses* in long, complex sentences such as: “But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour; and though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits; and having told all her griefs to Charlotte Lucas, whom she had not seen for a week, she was soon able to make a voluntary transition to the oddities of her cousin, and to point him out to her in particular notice.” –Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Colons and semicolons are often misused. The semicolon stops the forward movement of a statement while a colon marks a forward movement, often emphasizing it.

*A clause contains a subject and a verb. Coordinate clauses are individual clauses of a compound sentence, or the independent clauses of a compound-complex sentence.

Oh and there’s a rafflecopter thingy to enter.

Follow me tomorrow as I continue to write about semicolons on Coral Russell’s blog: http://shelf-stacker.com/

Chryse11-4-13

BIOGRAPHY

Chryse Wymer is a freelance copy editor and proofreader whose main focus is on indie writers. Her clients have been well reviewed, and one was recently chosen as a top-five finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Book Awards in his category: mystery/thriller. For some years, she has been particularly obsessed with William S. Burroughs’s writing, who happened to coin the term heavy metal … her favorite music. She’s also a published (traditionally and indie) author. You can contact her at chrysewymer@yahoo.com, follow her on twitter: @ChryseWymer, or like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChryseWymer. For more information and/or pricing, e-mail (above) or visit her Web site: http://ocdeditor.weebly.com/ (and yes, the first letter of Web site is capitalized. Look it up on Merriam-Webster’s.)

6 Comments

Filed under Dionne's Blog

6 responses to “Semicolon Advice From Chryse Wymer

  1. elizabethellencarter

    Great piece. I feel so many of us missed out because proper grammar and punctuation were not taught in schools.

  2. Exactly! My son just started kindergarten, and I cringe at all the bad grammar in worksheets, advice, note to parents, etc. sent home. They may be elementary-school educators, but darn it–they’re *educators.*

  3. *Notes* to parents is what I meant.

  4. I took a MOOC (massive open on-line course) on basic English because as I have been writing for a long time, I didn’t know hardly any of the correct conventions. But even so, I love my proof reader/editor!!!!

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