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Anonymous:
Hi. How would you punctuate this?

The other party seems to be ready to sign the document; and if terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.

If the semicolon is replace with a comma, would it make a difference?

The other party seems to be ready to sign the document, and if terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.

Also, would you say the words "while" and "whereas" are coordinating conjunctions like "and" and "but"?

And would you use a semicolon instead of a comma if one clause of the two independent clauses has an internal comma and connect with coordinating conjunctions llike "and", "but", "while" and "whereas" (please look at the first example sentence of this post)?

If you would use a semicolon in such a situation, could you give an example where either "while" or "whereas" is used to illustrate the previous point?
Hi,

Anon, are you actually Eddie 88? I just got through answering a very similar post by him.

How would you punctuate this?

The other party seems to be ready to sign the document; and if terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.

In my opinion, using 'and' with the semi-colon defeats the purpose of the semi-colon.

Here's what I'd consider acceptable. I prefer the first version, with two separate sentences.
The other party seems to be ready to sign the document. If terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.
The other party seems to be ready to sign the document; if terms are agreeable we will meet and finalize the sale.
The other party seems to be ready to sign the document, and if terms are agreeable we will meet and finalize the sale.
The other party seems to be ready to sign the document and, if terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.
The other party seems to be ready to sign the document and if terms are agreeable we will meet and finalize the sale.

If the semicolon is replace with a comma, would it make a difference? I don't consider the following acceptable.

The other party seems to be ready to sign the document, and if terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.

Also, would you say the words "while" and "whereas" are coordinating conjunctions like "and" and "but"? I believe they are termed 'subordinating conjunctions'.

And would you use a semicolon instead of a comma if one clause of the two independent clauses has an internal comma and connect with coordinating conjunctions llike "and", "but", "while" and "whereas" (please look at the first example sentence of this post)?Please show me some actual sentences that you would like me to comment on.

If you would use a semicolon in such a situation, could you give an example where either "while" or "whereas" is used to illustrate the previous point?

Best wishes, Clive
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Anonymous:
Hi. I think it is a widely accepted notion that when you have two independent clauses connected by a coodinate conjunction (coordinating conjunction? - I think they are the same) and one of them has an internal comma, a semicolon could be used before the coordinate conjunction. And I find your following comment somewhat ground-shaking.

In my opinion, using 'and' with the semi-colon defeats the purpose of the semi-colon.

I have in front of me a list of conjunctive adverbs that includes such adverbs as "in other words, "in contrast" and "instead."

I think Eddie 88 made a similar inquiry with a similar sentence in a thread named "Two commas or one comma for parenthetical element and subordinate clause." Do you find placing one comma after the adverb unacceptable to you? Could I take your stand on this applies to all conjunctive adverbs in structures like the one below.

I don't want a gift, but instead, I would like to have something to drink.

If I replaced the conjucntion with a semicolon, would this be acceptable to you?

I don't want a gift; instead, I would like to have something to drink.

Hi, I see my name is appearing in this post, haha.

I agree with Clive. A coordinating conjunction plus a semicolon seems unnecessary; however, on rare occasions, it is suitable (if there are internal commas).

Semicolons are used in two circumstances:

1)To separate items in a list with internal commas

I went to the supermarket and bought bread, which was cheap; milk, which was expired; chocolate, which was expensive; and butter.

2)To link two independent clause which are closely related:

I ate a huge meal; I was so hungry.

Also, a transitional expression can be added to improve the connection between the two clauses:

I ate a meal; however, I was hungry.

As Clive mentioned, some writers lean towards fewer commas and will omit the comma after the mild transitional expression.

However, I strongly feel that some expressions need the comma.

For example, 'in this case' is a transitional expression, which is too long to not have a comma following it.

And in regards to an earlier question, I found the answer from grammar.ccc, which is a well known English learning website.

It says that a comma does not need to surround the transitional expression IF there is a coordinating conjunction joining two independent clauses immediately preceding it.

I walked home, and therefore, I was tired when I got home.

Sorry, I tend to ramble on; I don't know if this is any help.
Full Member466
If the semicolon is replace with a comma, would it make a difference? I don't consider the following acceptable.

The other party seems to be ready to sign the document, and if terms are agreeable, we will meet and finalize the sale.

Hi. Clive, are you saying you feel this is not acceptable?

Because this sentence is perfectly fine.

It follows this formula, which is grammatical:

Independent clause , coordinating conjunction conditional (adverbial) clause , independent clause.

The rule is that a coordinating conjunction plus a comma joins two independent clauses, which is what we have above. Within the second independent clause, we have a dependent clause. The rule is that if one has a dependent clause preceding a main clause, a comma is needed. So technically, this is a good sentence. But perhaps you are not refering to whether the sentence is grammatical; I think you are saying it isn't written in the best way for what the sentence is trying to convey.

Cheers.


Hi anonymous person,

I think it is a widely accepted notion that when you have two independent clauses connected by a coodinate conjunction (coordinating conjunction? - I think they are the same) and one of them has an internal comma, a semicolon could be used before the coordinate conjunction.
I don't dispute this. However, I think the problem with such 'rules' is that they don't give the student any sense of how often or when such a thing should be done.
As regards 'how often', I've encountered ESL students who can't write a page without putting semi-colons in just about every sentence. When I remonstrate, they say 'Well, all my thoughts are related to each other'. What advice would you offer to my students in such a case?
Let me declare my bias here. I never use a semi-colon. I guess I just never have two thoughts that are so closely related that I can't convey that meaning with a conjunction or a comma or two separate sentences.

As regards 'when', here's my view. A semi-colon is an invitation to the reader to contemplate what the connection is, between the two parts of the sentence. eg He loved her; she died. The reader can, I think, find a certain degree of romance, poignancy, even mystery ("Did he ever tell her?") in this sentence. Now compare 'I took the garbage out; the can was full'. This is a grammatically correct sentence that follows the 'rules' you quote, but in my opinion it is quite ludicrous to use a semi-colon in such a mundane context.

And I find your following comment somewhat ground-shaking. Oh dear! Consider this.
I don't claim to be a grammar expert. I'm just an educated native speaker.
I'm not a University English professor. I'm just an ESL teacher. Students come into my class with poor English. They leave with better Engish, but never with perfect English.

In my opinion, using 'and' with the semi-colon defeats the purpose of the semi-colon.
Please consider this sentence. 'It rained today; and I got wet.'
Let me ask you why you would want to say 'and'.

I have in front of me a list of conjunctive adverbs that includes such adverbs as "in other words, "in contrast" and "instead."

I think Eddie 88 made a similar inquiry with a similar sentence in a thread named "Two commas or one comma for parenthetical element and subordinate clause." Do you find placing one comma after the adverb unacceptable to you? Could I take your stand on this applies to all conjunctive adverbs in structures like the one below. Yes, it probably does, but I don't like to generalize about such matters. Let me just comment on these examples.

I don't want a gift, but instead, I would like to have something to drink. I don't approve of this punctuation.

If I replaced the conjucntion with a semicolon, would this be acceptable to you?

I don't want a gift; instead, I would like to have something to drink. Yes, but I would ask you why you chose to use a semi-colon here instead of two separate sentences.

Best wishes again, Clive
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Hi Eddie,
Semicolons are used in two circumstances:

2)To link two independent clause which are closely related: <<< I know you realize that this is the form I am dealing with in this thread.

But perhaps you are not refering to whether the sentence is grammatical; I think you are saying it isn't written in the best way for what the sentence is trying to convey. I'm interested in this comment of yours. I can imagine an ESL student saying 'I always follow the rules whan I write, so what does he mean when he says that my sentence is not written in the best way?'
Can you perhaps elaborate a little, with a few examples?

Best wishes, Clive
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CliveI think it is a widely accepted notion that when you have two independent clauses connected by a coodinate conjunction (coordinating conjunction? - I think they are the same) and one of them has an internal comma, a semicolon could be used before the coordinate conjunction.
I don't dispute this.
Clive might not, but I do.

I am going to the store. God willing, they will have the ice cream flavor I like, even though they have been out of it the last three times I've shopped there.

I am going to the store; God willing, they will have the ice cream flavor I like, even though they have been out of it the last three times I've shopped there.

I am going to the store, and, God willing, they will have the ice cream flavor I like, even though they have been out of it the last three times I've shopped there.

NOT: I am going to the store; and, God willing, they will have the ice cream flavor I like, even though they have been out of it the last three times I've shopped there.

Where did this "widely accepted notion" come from? I find it incorrect, except to the extent that we do start independent clauses with and, but, and or in informal writing. However, in that case, I'd use a period and start the second sentence with "And."

Once you have a sentence that is so long it requires more internal navigation help (and that's what punctuation is) than a few simple commas, you should give serious thought to rewriting.
CliveIn my opinion, using 'and' with the semi-colon defeats the purpose of the semi-colon.
I completely agree!
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Hi, Clive,

Firstly, I may sound slightly pedantic in that I always put forth stupid rules rather than being flexible and giving my own opinion on the matter. However, I do prefer conforming with the rules simply because I see innumerable occaisions where flexibilty has got the best of students, and they add too many commas in the wrong places.

I like John, however, I used to dislike him.

In this very simple sentence, there is a classic case of punctuating the sentence incorrectly. I see it all too often, and I believe flexibilty is somewhat responsible for this as the pause does evidently appear before the conjunctive adverb, and after it, so students place commas here.

This is how I first became interested in the English language. One day, I decided I wanted to know how to punctuate a sentence correctly, so I learned the rules. However, when I learned the rules, I realised that I had to become familiar with such terms as 'independent clause,' 'adverb phrase,' etc for me to correctly punctuate sentences of varying complexities. This is why I joined this English forum: so that I could learn to analyse sentences and therefore punctuate sentences correctly. I have now, of course, moved on and have become intersted in various discussions on this forum.

I'm interested in this comment of yours. I can imagine an ESL student saying 'I always follow the rules whan I write, so what does he mean when he says that my sentence is not written in the best way?'
Can you perhaps elaborate a little, with a few examples?


What I mean is that sometimes (I am slightly contradicitng myself here) flexibility is best and rules are made to be broken on occasions. In certain instances, a sentence should be punctuated according to how the writer wishes to convey his idea(s) rather than punctuating accoding to rules. This is simply because rules can never work in every instance: in society and in English writing. After all, rules are forever changing, and they are changing from illogical rules, to rules based around common sense. For instance, 'ending a sentence with a preposition,' or 'having to place a comma after a conjunctive adverb' are rules which have changed for the better!

Can you perhaps elaborate a little, with a few examples?

I was hungry, and therefore, I bought some fastfood.

You prefer not to punctuate the sentence like this. You (I think) would prefer to place emphasis on 'therefore' to show a direct influence 'being hungry' has had on the following independent clause. So you would write it like this perhaps.

I was hungry, and, therefore, I bought some food.

Yay! I have a good example:

Starving due to low food supplies, I trudged my way up the hill in search for food.

This is the sentence correctly punctuated (some may place a comma before the prep. phrase 'in search for food', but that is a matter of personal preference).

However, if students do not learn the rules, I think they would punctuate the sentence like this:

Starving, due to low food supplies, I trudged my way....

This is incorrect although it may seem right if you simply place your punctuation where pauses occur when the sentence is spoken aloud. But this is what I speak of. I think a comma could be acceptable if the writer wishes in this case to emphasise that 'I' is starving. I think this would be an acceptable moment to be flexible if the writer wishes to be.

'Starving due to low food supplies' is a participle phrase and a comma cannot break up this phrase.

But, again, this is being slightly pedantic, and I think most people are not too concerned about this and treat a comma as a means for clarity in their writings rather than a means to create confusion and stress, which these rules can sometimes do to us.

And it is clear that you offer solid reasoning behind your opinions, so I would rarely disagree with your punctuation.

Finally, I do agree with you that a semicolon is not the most useful of tools. When I was at Uni, I would use a semicolon because linking ideas to answer a question was deemed excellent. However, more often than not, a comma and a coordinating conjunction, or a period would be suitable.

Sorry, I ramble on. Any thoughts?
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