How do people properly use SEMICOLONS and EM DASHES in writing?


I am not very familiar with using both the semicolon and the em dash very frequently, so could somebody help explain their functions, how they work, what differences they have between them and how to fluently use them in sentences? I want to improve my english by using them.

In: 29

Semicolons are used to partially break up a sentence; they’re like a period in that the next line is a new sentence, but a comma in that the next line is related.

Em-Dashes can be thought of as an in-line superscript – that is, an additional bit of context or information – that can be injected into the middle of a sentence.

semicolons are for joining two complete sentence that are about the same topic. Per google “call me tomorrow; you can give me your answer then”. Both are complete but are related to the same thing.

First, a *colon* is used to join two independent clauses when the first leads to or is directly related to the next one, using a conjunction:

> I drank all the milk: you need to go to the store.

Note that both what comes before the colon and what comes after are complete thoughts that *can* stand on their own (they are *independent clauses*), but the colon indicates that they are closely related.

A *semicolon* is used to join two independent clauses that are still related, but one may not directly lead to the other and there is no conjunction between them.

> They were out of milk; I did buy eggs while I was there.

EN dashes and EM dashes are named after their size. An EN dash is about the size of N and EM dashes are about the size of M. They are both used in the same way. You can use them a lot like a colon, but the clauses don’t necessarily have to be independent. They do need to be *very* closely related. Dashes are used a lot for interjections.

> I got eggs – I was at the store to buy milk – so if you need any just let me know.

The difference is that EM dashes should be used *without* spaces between the words:

> I got eggs—I was at the store to buy milk—so if you need any just let me know.

1. Semi colons are good for joining incomplete sentences to complete sentences.

“Mom bought everyone’s favorite dinner; pepperoni pizza from Giuseppe’s.”

2. It’s also useful when you want to list a list of things, like when describing a menu.

“Please choose a chicken, ham, or cheese sandwich; a cola, tea, or lemonade; and either a pudding cup, cookies, or a brownie.”