Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about tips for writers based on the manuscripts I edit.

Semicolons in Compound Sentences

A semicolon should be used between two parts of a compound sentence when they are not connected by a conjunction. Example:

              She removed the novel from the shelf; in its place she put a book on prayer.

 If there is a conjunction, use a comma (unless one or both of the independent clauses contain a comma). Examples:

             She removed the novel from the shelf, and in its place she put a book on prayer.

             Sarah wanted to approach the Tyndale editor at lunch; but, since that table filled up before she arrived, she ended up sitting with the Multnomah editor.

Many publishers prefer that independent clauses be separated into individual sentences. Example:

          She removed the novel from the shelf. In its place she put a book on prayer.


About Kathy Ide

Kathy Ide, author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, has written books, articles, short stories, devotionals, play scripts, and Sunday school curriculum. She has ghostwritten ten nonfiction books and a five-book novel series. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor/proofreader/mentor for new writers, established authors, and book publishers. She speaks at writers’ conferences across the country. Kathy is the founder and director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Connection ( For more about Kathy, visit or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.

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