Is this the correct way to use semicolons?

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Post by Guest »

If not, how could I say this instead? Here's the excerpt:

Kids are calling it syncing; hooking yourself up to the mainframe of a computer, twisting your consciousness with its operating system and letting it feed electrical signals down your neuropathways, opening you up from inside your brain, swapping spit, flooding you with information - photos, videos, words - datastreams.

The whole thing is still underground; niche.

My dad always said this was our future, not just for the Japanese, but for the world; that if the powers that be hadn’t succumbed to madness in the late 80s, and stifled the production of technology, manual labor would already be relegated to AI, and we’d all be flying hovercrafts powered by the sun.

Of course, we’re not in that future; that’s not our timeline. Instead, the first interspecies alien contact led to fearmongering, prompting the election of international world leaders, and now we’re all still suffering the consequences of a neo-capitalist, global dictatorship.

Go figure.

Post by Rosteet »

Semicolons are used to join independent clauses together, and to separate items in a list of that list also contains commas within each item. Source: I am an English professor.

Post by Cole »

Your second and third uses are correct. First, should be a colon.

Post by Wil »

I don't know if that's how you use a semicolon but I want to try this synching!

Post by Caroline »

A semi-colon goes where a period could go, except you want to connect the sentences. If a period would look wrong, don't use a semi-colon. Semi-colons can also replace commas in listed where each item in the list is made of multiple words that could have commas in them. For example: this cute, little clause is the first item in the list; the next one, if you think about it, is just as cute; this third one is cute, too, if you happen to think commas are cute. Colons, in contrast, introduce lists and other things: this is a thing introduced!

Post by Louise »

Copy editor here: no, that wouldn't be considered a correct use of a semicolon. When you use a semicolon, the group of words that comes before the semicolon and the group of words that comes after the semicolon have to each be a complete sentence. The two sentences also have to be related. In your case, a plain old colon would work. I do not agree with the comment that colons, semicolons, and exclamation marks should always be avoided in fiction. I would agree about dialogue, but in narration, semicolons and colons are fine and used quite often. Exclamation points should be used very sparingly.

Some correct examples of semicolon use:

"I was hungry; I hadn't eaten lunch that day."

"The dog looked out the window; the child's schoolbus had yet to appear."

"She couldn't believe he said that; he couldn't believe she questioned it."

Post by John »

Think of semicolons as “soft periods.” They are used to join two thoughts that can be complete sentences on their own but, for whatever reason, the author wants to keep the thoughts together.
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