Mind Your Language exists to offer narky advice on accurate language usage, but we’re more than happy to let others do the work. This new song from legendary comedy musicians The Lonely Island (featuring Solange) offers a reminder in humorous form on the correct use of the semicolon.
Office warning: while it’s a lyric video, the odd swear word pops up. Pedantry warning: Solange repeatedly pronounces ‘semi’ as sem-MY, which isn’t correct usage in Australia.
Here’s a quick reminder of when you should use a semicolon (;) rather than a colon (:). A colon is used to separate off the main part of a sentence, or to precede a list. A semicolon is used to link together closely-related ideas. If you’re not sure, try using shorter sentences and avoiding them altogether. Accuracy matters.
Lifehacker’s Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.
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