Last week I published a post about using commas in compound sentences; if you didn’t see it (or even if you did and need a reminder), click here. I also wrote that I would show you another way to treat compound sentences, this time using a semicolon.
A compound sentence is basically at least two complete sentences, each one having a subject and a predicate. You would be able to end each part with an end mark of punctuation (a period, an exclamation point, or a question mark) if you wanted to.
If for any reason you don’t want to make the sentences separate ones, or if you don’t want to use a comma and one of the seven coordinating conjunctions as shown in my previous Grammar Checkup post, you may use just a semicolon. Yes. All by itself.
Two sentences: John likes beer. Joe prefers scotch.
With a semicolon: John likes beer; Joe prefers scotch.
Two sentences: Amy will drive to work today. Sue will take the bus.
With a semicolon: Amy will drive to work today; Sue will take the bus.
By joining two separate short sentences, you create a longer sentence and that’s often a good idea. Writing only five- or six-word sentences can make you look as though you never left third grade, hardly a good impression for a professional to make.
I hope this helps, and remember: I will gladly proof (for FREE) any one page (or post) of yours to give you some ideas about your American grammar, punctuation, or word usage. Just ask!