Posts Tagged ‘clever writing’

Let’s Talk Grammar for a While

The Snippy Semicolon

Next to apostrophes, I’d say semicolons are probably the most misused punctuation marks used in the English language. I dare say most people aren’t really sure what to do with the little period with the comma dangling underneath, so they either guess, and guess wrongly, or they avoid using the punctuation mark altogether, which is probably a wise decision.

Sometimes semicolons can be used in a long series when commas are also needed, but this is such an unusual complex situation, I don’t think we even need to go there today. This information might be useful to someone who’s possibly writing a textbook on the classification of flora and fauna, but it’s not needed for the average writer. So let’s look at the two times when a semicolon is preferred in “normal” writing:

  1.  Sometimes when you have two compound sentences closely related, you can use a semicolon instead of a period and a capital letter to separate them:

Example: Mary decided to remodel the kitchen; she purchased new linoleum first.

Example: George booked a midnight flight to Paris; but his flight was cancelled due to snow.

Now, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just use a period and a capital to separate these sentences in the examples. Well, you can. It’s a writer’s preference. Often it might just add a little flavor to your voice to throw in a few semicolons instead of brand new sentences, especially when the two sentences are so closely related. Also, in the second example, there’s no reason why you couldn’t separate the two compound sentences with a comma either. Again, it’s the writer’s preference. Here’s the next common use for the semicolon:

  1. Use a semicolon to separate two clauses of a compound sentence or two compound sentences when divided by an adverb such as: however, then, thus, hence, indeed, besides, accordingly, and therefore. This example is the one I see misused the most. Here are some correct uses:

Example: Jack bought me a birthday gift; therefore, I sent him a thank-you note.

Example: I thought I was adopting a nice calm dog; however, Bailey is a little furball of energy!

Example: I started my Christmas shopping early; hence, I was done by December 15th.

IMPORTANT! Always remember to add a comma after the adverb!

So, there you have the two most common uses of the semicolon. Spruce up your writing by using it once in awhile; but use the little rascal correctly!

Next time, we’ll discuss everyone’s favorite punctuation mark—the overused comma!




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Skye’s faith is tested to its limits when her best friend, Sooze, gets a life-threatening illness.



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December 21, 2015

A Christmas Break from Serious Writing

A Clever Play on Words

If you’re like me at this time of the year with thoughts of Christmas crowding your mind, beautiful church services and fellowships, cantatas, family visits, shopping, decorating, and parties, you probably don’t have the time nor the brain power to concentrate on any serious writing. So…I’ll get back to posting blogs about writing good fiction in a week or two. For now, I’d like to give you a little Christmas breather and help you have a chuckle or two through this stressful season. Let’s look at some really clever writing.

The following puns are not from my creative juices. I received them in an email about two years ago with no byline. So enjoy my Christmas gift to you for 2015:

Crazy Puns to Make You Laugh (or Groan)

(Author Unknown)

I took a job at the bakery because I kneaded dough.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.dinosaur

Broken pencils are pointless.

What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.

A cross-eyed teacher had to quit her job because she couldn’t control her pupils.

I didn’t like my beard at first; then it grew on me.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

I wondered why the ball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.baseball

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went down. Then it dawned on me.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

I tried to catch the fog, but I mist.Blue.Sad.Smiley.Face



Merry Christmas and a Great Christ-centered New Year!


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