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  • By the end of this video, you should know how to use a semicolon.

  • Semicolons are somewhat ambiguous to people. They think that there is some secret to semicolons,

  • and they often question how to use them. Usually when a student attempts to use a semicolon,

  • they will read the essay out loud to themselves, and then whenever there's a long pausenot

  • a little one—a long pause, they will go ahead and pencil in a semicolon. This is not

  • how you use a semicolon. What most people don't understand about grammar is that it

  • is very predictable, almost mathematical in a way. Students often tell me that they don't

  • like English because it is so subjective to their professor. Well, you will love grammar,

  • because grammar is not subjective. So without further adieu, let me reveal the rule for

  • the semicolon. A semicolon is used to connect two complete sentences to each other. So on

  • the left, this man represents a complete sentence, and the lady on the right represents a complete

  • sentence. So let's write a sentence. The man wavedSEMICOLONthe woman ran away, PERIOD.

  • So the semicolon has successfully connected two complete sentences. This is a pretty simplistic

  • example, however, it really does illustrate what a semicolon does, which is connect two

  • complete sentences together. Now you won't be able to use a semicolon to stick together

  • two complete sentences if you don't know what a complete sentence really is. A complete

  • sentence is an independent clause. Both terms mean the same thing. So to have a complete

  • sentence or an independent clause, you need to things...first you need to have a VERB

  • and then you need to have a SUBJECT that pairs WITH THAT VERB. So you need a verb and subject

  • pair to have a complete sentence, or in other words, an independent clause. So let's go

  • back to our rather simplistic example of the man and the woman. The man waved; the woman

  • ran away. Let's look at the first half of the sentence. Let's identify if we have a

  • complete sentence. First we need to find the verb. WAVED is our verb. Now, who waved? The

  • man waved. Aha! We have a verb-subject pair, so we have an independent clause. Ran. Who

  • ran away? The woman. So, woman-ran, there's our verb subject pairwe have another independent

  • clause. That means we can successfully connect both sentences using a semicolon. Now I need

  • to point out that these are independent clauses because they stand alone. They are independent.

  • For example, let's look at the first half. The man waved. If I were to add ALTHOUGH at

  • the beginning: Although the man waved. . . [dot dot dot]—you see how that leaves the sentence

  • hanging? It doesn't stand-alone anymore? It would actually become a dependent clause.

  • So an independent clause has a verb-subject pair and it stands alone. Let's look at a

  • more complex example. Let's look at the first half. "Clearly this article was lacking in

  • the use of valid resources." All right, let's look at the second half. "It is inappropriate

  • for the authors to use biased individuals as their sole form of evidence." Now, while

  • there is a natural pause between the first half and the second half of the sentence,

  • I shouldn't jump right in and use a semicolon. Instead, I need to identify the verb-subject

  • pair in each of the halves of the sentences. So let's look at the first half: IS LACKING,

  • those are my verbs, and what is lacking? The article. OK guys it's as simple as that. If

  • we have a verb-subject pair and the sentence stands alone, it's an independent clause.

  • Let's look at the second half. ISthat's our verband what is? It. That's our subject.

  • Our verb subject pair is it is. That makes it another independent clause, so because

  • we have 2 independent clauses I can connect them and stick them together using a semicolon.

  • Let me have you try one on your own. "The author's poorly researched outside resources

  • dampen the argument, making the overall argument weak and unconvincing to readers." Look at

  • the first half of the sentence and identify the verb and subject pair. OK, the verb you

  • should have found is 'dampen'. And then you ask who or what dampens? 'Resources.' So this

  • section stands alone and it is an independent clause. Now let's look at the other half o

  • the sentence. Press pause so you can identify the verb-subject pair. So you should have

  • identified the verb as 'making'. Now who or what is making? Well, if you look around,

  • it doesn't really say. So this is actually not an independent clause. So in this case,

  • a semicolon cannot be used to connect both halves. In case you're wondering, when you

  • do not have a verb-subject pair, you actually have just a plain old phrase. And so in this

  • case, instead of a semicolon, go ahead and put a comma. So let's review. A semicolon

  • is used to connect two complete sentences together. Another word for a complete sentence

  • is an independent clause. And in order to have an independent clause, you need a verb

  • and subject pair. To find the verb, you just need to find a word that shows action or a

  • state of being. And then to find the subject, you say the verb and ask who or what. I hope

  • you enjoyed my flash lesson on semicolons. To see more videos about all things related

  • to college English, go to my YouTube page, Paola Brown English. Bye!

By the end of this video, you should know how to use a semicolon.

Subtitles and vocabulary

A2 BEG US semicolon verb independent clause clause independent sentence

Flash Grammar Lesson: Semicolon

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    阿多賓   posted on 2013/11/27
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