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Posted on October 9, 2011

So I would advise you don’t use too many commas in a sentence. Why not use semi-colons? Semi-colons can be used to link sentences or phrases that, by their content or meaning belong together. They are weaker than full stops and, in the mind of the reader, do not induce such an abrupt feeling of change in the course of the text; they are stronger than commas (which should not themselves alter the direction of the narrative to any great degree).

It is rare to read a modern sentence with more than one semi-colon (indeed, it is rare to read a modern-day sentence with even one). If you read Dickens, he was quite prone to write sentences that had two, three, four or even more.

I like semi-colons. They add to the variety of language.

Tags: semi-colons; Dickens; linking sentences; an alternative to commas