SAT Essay Writing and Language
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The Semicolon

English grammar PSAT punctuation SAT semicolon

Before there were emojis, there were emoticons. While emojis have surged in popularity, some of us still use emoticons. What is an emoticon, you ask? It’s a representation of an expression made using letters, symbols, and numbers from the keyboard. You have your basic smiley face :), a surprised face :0, and even a heart <3. There are numerous combinations. I personally like to use the winking emoticon ;), which is a combination of a semicolon and a bracket or parenthesis. It’s fun for a couple of reasons. It could mean, “I understand you” or “I got it”. It could also indicate that you and the person you’re winking at are in on a secret. I could go on about the merits of winking (I also think it’s a fun word to say and write), but we’re really here to talk about the importance of the semicolon. It’s not just for making your emoticon wink. It has two important roles in the English language.

1.  Join independent clauses.

Use the semicolon to join two closely related independent clauses (complete sentences) without using a conjunction (or, and, but, etc.).


Sushi is Sara’s favorite food; she eats it at least three times per week.

I’m still upset about the Warriors’ loss; I really thought they could win the NBA championship.

2.  Series or List

Use the semicolon to separate items in a series or list that already contain commas.


Important dates to remember are October 12, 1492; June 18, 1812; and April 6, 1917.

I want to visit New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois; and San Francisco, California.


So, next time you see a winking emoticon, think about its significance; it would never have existed without the trusty and reliable semicolon. ;)

As always, thanks for reading my blog and for visiting the Test Prep Spot. I hope you found this information helpful. I’d love to know what you thought, so please leave your comments in the section below.  


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