If you stare down at the semicolon key in fear, unsure of what power might be released if you press it, never fear. This video eloquently explains how to unleash the semicolon's power correctly.
Is it a comma? Or is it a period? It's neither, and while it might seem silly to think of semicolons as confusing punctuation, improper use of it is one of the most common grammatical errors that people make. This video lesson from the TED-Ed YouTube channel, and written by Emma Bryce, removes the confusion surrounding the comma-period hybrid, and explains when and when not to use it. In general, semicolons should be used to compartmentalise and connect relatable thoughts to each other. For example, these sentences from the video:
Semicolons were once a great mystery to me. I had no idea where to put them.
They can be connected with a semicolon to help break up the monotony of only using periods, like this:
Semicolons were once a great mystery to me; I had no idea where to put them.
Both thoughts are related to each other, so they can be connected together. If two thoughts are unrelated, however, you should never use a semicolon to connect them. With a little practice, semicolons can become a valuable tool in your writing skill set.
How to use a semicolon - Emma Bryce [YouTube]