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1. Hi. LAD here. This screencast shows you how to join your ideas in writing with commas
and semicolons. CLICK 2. Before we write anything, we get an idea
in our heads. CLICK Our raw thought is usually pretty choppy. We don't always think in complete
sentences. And I doubt any of us think very often in punctuation. So at first, all we
have is a bunch of random thoughts in one big brainstorm.
3. CLICK Then we start to express those thoughts in words, and we get the beginnings of sentences.
We get some words out, maybe not the ones we're going to stick with, because the thoughts
aren't anchored down just yet. We're still forming them. And there's no punctuation yet.
They're just run-on thoughts, out there running into each other. And we call a bunch of sentences
on a page with no punctuation in them "run-on" sentences. Not good.
4. CLICK Things settle down a bit when we start to get our words out the way we want
them. When we put our thoughts in writing, we capitalize what we're supposed to, and
we set these thoughts down in sentences, with a period between them. And that's great. Listen
to what the period does: (read). CLICK TO READ FIRST. CLICK TO READ SECOND My voice
falls off at the end of the first sentence. These two sentences are separate vehicles
for my thought. But maybe I don't want my reader's voice to fall off at the end of a
sentence because the two thoughts are so related. Maybe I want to join them.
5. CLICK You might first think about taking out the period and joining them with a comma.
But that's bad. It's called a comma splice, and CLICK it's like trying to hitch a boat
to the back of your truck with nothing but a chain. CLICK It's not enough. So you need
more than just a chain. 6. CLICK You need to add a ball hitch. CLICK
What you should use is either a semicolon, or a comma and the word "and."
7. CLICK A semicolon CLICK hitches a related sentence to the back of another, and the reader's
voice CLICK moves them both together toward an idea. CLICK Using a comma with a coordinating
conjunction like "and" CLICK does the same thing.
CLICK So put periods between your sentences. Or hitch them together, but don't use a commas
by itself. CLICK Use a semicolon, or a comma with the word "and" so that your thoughts
travel together they way they're supposed to.