Friday, December 12, 2014

That pesky Semicolon and how to use it by Helen Hardt.

The Semicolon
Take a Tip from Helen #9

by Helen Hardt

(This article originally posted at the Musa Publishing blog and is being reposted with permission from the author)

Are You a User or an Abuser?

This little punctuation mark is probably the most misused on the planet. The semicolon is a divider. It is used ONLY (okay, there's one exception, but you won't come across it in fiction) to mark off the boundary between grammatically parallel elements. It is most often used to separate independent clauses in compound and compound-complex sentences and to separate items in a series when one or more of the items include interior punctuation.


His heart told him to move to New York; his head told him to stay.

(Two independent clauses joined)

He pleaded with her to stay; however, she left on the train at noon.

(Two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction, when the second independent clause contains a comma.

My favorite movies are Titanic; Yours, Mine, and Ours; and Avatar.

(A series of three items, one of which includes interior punctuation)


We're looking at the city's liability; a problem that could be addressed by raising taxes.

She'd need a few months to learn to walk again; to adjust to living again.

She quickened her footsteps; stopped; turned around.

If you choose to use the semicolon, please use it correctly :).

Cowboy Heat Bakersville Saga One and Two

Ivy League~ Cowboy Dusty O’Donovan, an accomplished bull rider, isn’t afraid to ride El Diablo, a feisty stud whose owner, Zach McCray, is offering $500,000 to anyone who can stay on him for a full eight seconds. Though Zach refuses to let a woman ride his bull, he's intrigued by the headstrong Dusty, who he last saw when he was thirteen and she was six. Sparks fly when they’re together, but will Dusty’s secrets tear them apart?

A Cowboy and a Gentleman~ Newly divorced Dallas McCray wants a sweet country girl like his sister-in-law, so why is he lusting after the new veterinarian in town, striking New Jersey transplant Annie DeSimone? Also divorced, Annie yearns to leave her difficult past behind and start a new life in beautiful Colorado. Sparks fly between her and handsome cowboy Dallas, but attraction and emotion aren’t always enough…especially when a cowboy has vowed never to make the same mistake twice.

To read excerpts from Helen Hardt's books please click a vendor's name.
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Helen Hardt is the Head Line Editor for Musa Publishing and a freelance editor. She is also an award-winning author. Helen writes contemporary, historical, paranormal, and erotic romance for several publishers. Her non-writing interests include Harley rides with her husband, attending her sons’ sports and music performances, traveling, and Taekwondo (she’s a blackbelt.)

Learn more about Helen Hardt and her editing service on her website.

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