I thought I’d do something different with my Guest Author Spot – something I think you will find useful – especially those of us who write and possibly find themselves struggling with Grammar and Punctuation at times.
For those who don’t know her, Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and non-fiction guides.
Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.
Welcome Traci and thanks for being here to share some of your tips with us today
Thanks for featuring my new books on your blog. I am going to share a tip which is focused on the technical side of writing, discussing usage of colons and semicolons.
TIP 128: Colons and Semi-colons
The following tips, and many more on writing and editing, can be found in Before You Publish, now available in digital and paperback format.
You can think of this as a reference guide, rather than a book you need to read from cover to cover. It will become your new go-to guide for all things writing, grammar, and editing. The tips are easy to follow and explained in simple terms that anyone can understand and put to use right away.
I’ve seen colons and semi-colons thrown around in a haphazard manner within several books recently. It’s time to stop the madness!
Here are some rules broken down in simple terms, with examples for each one:
Semicolon – Basically, this mark symbolizes a point in the sentence that is not strong enough for a period but is too strong for a comma. Hence, it combines both (;).
A semicolon can replace a period when linking two similar, complete thoughts.
Her heart led her back to her childhood home; it was the only place she felt safe. A period could also be substituted here, but the semicolon closes the gap more effectively. Also, if this sentence were shortened—say the words “it was” were taken out—the sentence could be constructed differently.
Her heart led her to her childhood home—the only place she felt safe.
Either of these would suffice.
A semicolon can differentiate between two separate (complete) thoughts an author wants to convey in a relational way. Example: Your heart belongs to music; mine belongs to sports.
She thought she’d found the love of her life; she was wrong.
Use a semicolon to set apart sentences that are introduced (or divided) by conditional words such as: however, therefore, consequently, etc.
I wanted to marry a doctor; therefore, I dated only medical students.
You can date anyone you want; however, don’t be surprised if your heart gets broken.
Use a semicolon to break up a sentence in which one or more commas are present, or where a coordinating conjunction has been omitted (as in a series or list of items).
I called my mom and told her that I loved her, and I promised to take care of Daddy for her; it was one promise I intended to keep.
These are my three favorite movies of all time: Untamed Heart, starring Marisa Tomei and Christian Slater; Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere; and The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.
Don’t fall into the trap of using a semi-colon to replace a colon.
Incorrect: Most teenage boys have only one thing on their minds; girls.
Correct: Most teenage boys have only one thing on their minds: girls.
Colon – An easy way to remember when to use a colon is, only use it at the end of a complete sentence, never following a sentence fragment. Colons are most often used to signify the beginning of a list or series of items. They can also be used to signify that an important document is about to be read, or a speech is about to take place.
Here is a list of the things I need you to pick up from the store: bananas, milk, sugar, eggs, and rolls.
I’ve only had one dream since I was a little girl: to be a professional writer.
She opened the letter, and it read: “Dear John…”
I’ve provided several ways to properly use semicolons and colons in this tip. There are a few other, more-specific rules; however, this is a good starting list for those who are confused on proper usage.
You can find out more about Traci Sanders, award-winning author of parenting, children’s, and romance titles here:
~Reviews keep authors writing~
Traci thanks so much for sharing some of your expertise with us. I do hope everyone has enjoyed your post and will visit your pages and books as a result. This has been so interesting.