The Semicolon (;)

International students and native speakers of English often are not familiar with how to use a semicolon, which is this symbol “;”. Although you can get by writing without it, it can be very helpful. So ESL students should take advantage of learning and mastering its use. To do so, let’s take a look at an article by which provides very clear explanations. On top of that they also explain the differences between American and British English which is helpful for students at Hancock International College as we have students from all over the world and many of them learned British English. explains:

“Semicolons are used:

In lists when the list items contain commas.

(e.g., Brian, the officer in charge; Mark, the chef; and Ollie, my dog )

To create a smoother transition between sentences, particularly when the second starts with a phrase like however or as a result.

(e.g., It was freezing; however, we still enjoyed it. )

Before a conjunction that merges two sentences containing commas.

(e.g., Yesterday, it was, to our surprise, sunny; but today, as expected, it’s dull. )

Semicolons are not used:

For introductions.

(e.g., I would blame one thing for my divorce; beer. ) (It should be a colon.)”

The link below contains further explanation as the semicolon can also be used in place of a period “when a smoother transition is required between sentences. However, I read an amazing book by Glynis and Gary Hoffman called Adios, Strunk and White, and they would argue that the semicolon actually creates “pause” when a reader reads a semicolon because many people are not familiar with the symbol so as a result they pause in hesitation. The Hoffmans would argue that if used sparingly, a writer can take advantage of this to stylize their writing.

Full Article:

Idiom of the Day

To cut corners

Meaning: To do something improperly, inadequately, or cheaply. You can think of it as though you are running a 5K that is in a square. If you are “cutting corners” then you are not doing 100% of the 5K.

Example: You cannot cut corners when you are studying another language. It takes effort and consistency to improve.