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Compound predicates and semicolons

 
 
John17
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2020 06:32 am
Hi all

He went to the park, bought an ice-cream and newspaper, and went home.

Wouldn't you put a semicolon after 'park' as the second predicate 'bought an ice-cream and newspaper' contains a compound object 'ice-cream and newspaper', making the sentence read better:

He went to the park; bought an ice-cream and newspaper, and went home.

Thanks
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izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2020 06:44 am
@John17,
No, a simple rule of thumb is that each clause separated by the semi colon could be a sentence in its own right.

He went to the park could be a sentence on its own, but bought an ice cream and newspaper, and went home, does not make sense on its own so it cannot be a sentence.
John17
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2020 07:11 am
@izzythepush,
ok, thanks, but what about all those convoluted sentences out there, with compound predicates and sub-clauses - don't they need semicolons for clarity.

He left home, with a purpose for the day--although he had had no purpose for many years; bought a train ticket and sat down at the station, and waited eagerly for the train to arrive and for his new destiny to reveal itself.

I thought semicolons were there to provide hard commas in complicated sentences and lists. In a way, a series of actions is a list - a list of actions in sequence.

Thanks
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2020 07:52 am
@John17,
Again in the example you give, bought a train ticket...... does not make sense on its own so a semi colon is not appropriate.
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2020 12:15 pm
@John17,
Izzy has got it right. Good places to use semicolons are very rare. You could write extensively for years and never have to use one.
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Teufel
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2020 01:21 pm
@John17,
My Dr of psychology wife, CELTA holder from her youth and officially tested genius, has a coffee mug some of her students gave her which reads "I am silently correcting your grammar Wink " ... which is so true.

Now myself I am not entering the deeply erudite argument laid here before me, however it does strike me that rather than the extraneous use of semicolons to the point of littering, that it may instead be useful if the majority could get their, they're and there correct. Further, for them to understand what a constitutes a sentence and paragraph, whilst throwing in any punctuation they can remember from their 3 weeks in education .... let alone semicolons.

Obviously I am a person who remembers life pre-internet. It was always my opinion that a great deal of the general population world wide were not overly bright. Yet the sheer amount who like to promote their ignorance and functional illiteracy by posting ignorant thoughts in barely readable drivel, is nothing short of astounding.

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