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semicolon

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by doug, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    I disapprove of their use of the semicolon. ;)
     
  2. Kevin Harney

    Kevin Harney Active Member

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    Last I checked it is acceptable to use a semicolon in the separation of a compound complex list. I am pretty sure it is actually correct but your are right it looks funny. I think it should have been " ; and, ..." separating the two lists.
     
  3. Joseph

    Joseph Member

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    "The department also has received applications from Tesla Motors Inc., of San Carlos, California, which makes electric cars; and Alico Inc., in La Belle, Florida, and Irvine, California-based BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc., both of which are planning cellulosic ethanol plants."

    You're supposed to use a semicolon to avoid confusion. Here's a good example I stole from
    LEO: Semicolon and Colon

    "I have recommended this student because she communicates well with other students, faculty, and staff; completes her assignments ably and on time; and demonstrates an ability to organize people, materials, and time."

    The semicolon looks awkward here because there's a list of three things, but only one semicolon. It would be confusing to read the sentence without the semicolon, but that's only because the writer put too many commas! Why is there a comma after "Tesla Motors Inc." or "Alico Inc." ? They're not needed there. If the unnecessary commas weren't there, they probably could've used a semicolon without confusion.

    The only reason a semicolon would be needed is because of that last part "both of which..." It refers to the last two companies, so the writer needed to split them up from the first one, Tesla.

    It's not 100% clear what's "correct" here. Either way, the real problem is that this was just written badly.
     
  4. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    #4 doug, Jan 29, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
    I didn't say it was wrong, per se... just that I disapprove (and then in a feat of irony, I used one to make a wink :wink:).

    I don't like that the semicolon has evolved to be a "somewhat bigger comma."





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