I brought my copy of Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition into the office to see if I could relearn any 8th Grade Grammar; the text fell open to the first page of the chapter on semicolons.
According to Warriner I use a semicolon exactly like a cross between a comma and a period; the pause for a semicolon is longer than a comma but shorter than a period. Typesetters or punctuation mark inventors baked the instructions in to the symbol itself. Handy.
I don’t know that I’ve ever had any confusion about how to use a semicolon in the main of a sentence. I use the to join to complete sentences when I feel they pair well. I’m not arguing my instincts accurately identify appropriate pairings; I’m just saying that’s my operating procedure. I’m certain I stumble in the esoteric uses involving lists following colons and dates and other stuff. I’ll pause to consult…
Looks like I can use the semicolon to replace regular conjunctions; however, for the fancier conjunctive phrases I use it and a comma.
It also appears to function like a supercomma when comma-filled independent clauses would be normally separated by a comma to avoid confusion. I can again use it as a supercomma when series may be required to use commas. Think dates and appositives.
I think I’m good here.
233 words on day 610