However, a semicolon…

Writing in run on sentences has been a regular failing of mine.  It help that up until recently I never really bothered to understand what they were.

After a brief visit to the grammar books that are sat on my shelf looking pretty it turns out that a run on sentence is not just one sentence that keeps going but two separate sentences that are joined together without appropriate punctuation.  However, the biggest pitfall I have with run on sentences is when using ‘however.’

Jane returned home to ger her bag, however, her mother didn’t know where it was.

Two rather clumsy sentences rather clumsily joined.  It should be,

Jane returned home to get her bag. However, her mother didn’t know where it was.

Alternatively, if you like semicolons I think you could go for,

Jane returned home to get her bag; however her mother didn’t know where it was.

Now depending on which books you read ‘however’ can either be a false joiner or just a connecting word that can require a proceeding semicolon.

Other offenders include ‘therefore’, ‘along with’, ‘thus’, ‘consequently’, ‘moreover’, ‘nevertheless’.

Apologies if you know this already, but I’ve been battling with it for a few days and can’t think of anything else. Please tell me if I’ve got it wrong.



4 thoughts on “However, a semicolon…

  1. I haven’t got a clue where to put semi colons so I just avoid them like the plague!

    Good for you for getting your grammar books out, I really should do the same! (And I sure that should have been 2 sentences…he he he) 😉


  2. In your examples, “however” is an adverb. So, you’re actually joining two independent clauses without a conjunction, so you need that semicolon to join them. Usually, there is a comma following “however” when it is preceded by a semicolon; however, not all writers include it.

    • Thanks, Laure. That’s really useful. The most difficult thing I am finding about this is that everyone has been taught a different way of doing it so I’m never really convinced whether I am doing it right or not.

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