I noted this thread talked very little of the semicolon, so I'll attempt to go slightly indepth with this. Do note that I'm not pulling this information from my head; I'll list sources at the end. This is also me learning things, so forgive me if I'm slow.
The semicolon. [noparse]([/noparse] Usage 1) As per general description, the semicolon is used to connect two related, independent clauses (I'll grab that in a sec). Take the following sentences for instance: I approached my daughter with a hug. She received it warmly. They are two independent clauses (i.e they can stand on their own as complete thoughts), but why would I leave them as two? They're conventionally read like this:
I approached my daughter with a hug. *breath* She received it warmly.
Luckily, we have this here friend, by the name of semicolon [noparse]([/noparse] . Using the semicolon, we can conjoin the two sentences into one, as seen here: I approached my daughter with a hug; she received it warmly.
See how that's much easier to read? No full stop until the end, it flows very well! A big note that isn't significantly bolded: do not use semicolons with conjunctions (FANBOYS - For And Nor But Or Yet So)
Try it out with these sentences:
1. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Leave me alone.
2. I told you to keep quiet. If you don't shut your trap, I will do it for you.
3. Mommy, I love you. I love Daddy as well.
4. I desire chocolate. But, I do not desire white chocolate.
1. I woke up ont he wrong side of the bed; leave me alone.
2. I told you to keep quiet; if you don't shut your trap, I will do it for you.
3. Mommy, I love you; I love Daddy as well.
4. [TRICKED YOU! Do not use semicolons alongside coordinating conjunctions!]
Usage 2) The semicolon is also used in lists. When you have several items that are linked in a series, it's very useful to use the atypical semicolon rather than the typical comma when separating said items. It allows the reader to recognize individual pieces and not mix themselves up. Check this long list out: Zelda, I'd like to visit several locations. On my list, I have the Kokiri Forest in the south, Hyrule Castle Town in the center, Gerudo Valley in the west, Death Mountain in the north east, Desert Colossus in the west, the Zora Village in the south east, and of course the prestigious Deku Palace in the south.
That was a mouthful, hah. If you haven't stumbled across some words, I applaud you! I definitely stumbled across some - and I'm the one typing this!
Anyway, to clean things up, it's the preferred method to write out the list like this: Zelda, I'd like to visit several locations. On my list, I have the Kokiri Forest in the south; Hyrule Castle Town in the center; Gerudo Valley in the west; Death Mountain in the north east; Desert Colossus in the west; the Zora village in the south east; and of course the prestigious Deku Palace in the south.
Be advised: When you have a sentence with an appositive, that is, a noun with its description following it after a comma (e.g Do you know about Kevin, the kid on the corner? -- the kid on the corner describes the name Kevin, and I call it an appositive), it's very important to use the semicolon AFTER the appositive, assuming you're listing several people. Check it out in action: Mother, you said there were three kids, correct? I counted Maria, the ten year old girl who lives on Druid Lane; Lucina, the girl with the oddly colored blue hair; and Arran, the introvert who lives near the park. (help needed as far as that "and Arran" is concerned -- I said not to use conjunctions with semicolons, but I did there anyway?)
Try it out with this sentence!
I know of three people in a play. There's Charles, the neighborhood accordionist, Abdullah, the friendly guy who is unfairly hated due to his name, and Jessica, that charming girl who Abdullah is in love with.
You must be advised; overuse of the semicolon can lead to tedious sentence structure. To some readers that may be cute, but to others it's just irritating! Use it, but not too much! Source:How to use a semicolon - The Oatmeal
BTW I apologize for any grammar mistakes. I just wanted to try my hand at it.
We must disagree in regards to your section on said-bookisms. The best advice you an offer writers is not to diversify their vocabulary of dialogue tags, but to reduce their usage. When you throw around words like groaned, roared, yelled, and explained, you take emotion away from the dialogue and force it into the few words attached to it. More often than not, what you've just explained to the reader will be obvious through the dialogue itself, making their usage condescending. While you say using said makes a reader feel talked down to, the opposite is true. When you insist on using said-bookisms, you insist on explaining something the reader already understands.
"What's your name?" she asked.
What was the point of saying, "She asked?" I already know the character is asking a question. Why not use said instead? Or better yet, don't use a dialogue tag at all. Kill two birds with one stone.
"I want my mirror!" she commanded.
Since you've included an exclamation point at the end of the line, the reader will assume it's being spoken with urgency and with a louder voice. "Commanded" is unnecessary, since the reader can tell by the dialogue itself that the character is commanding someone. If you don't feel your diaogue is angry enough, or that the reader will for some reason miss its point, use emphasis. Italicize certain words to show emphasis beign placed on them. If you want to convey emphasis throughout the dialogue, italicize everything. The reader will understand that serious **** is going down, and you won't have insulted their intelligence.