Difference Between Comma and Semicolon

Comma vs Semicolon
 

Difference between comma and semicolon is a very confusing matter to many as most of us do not know when to use which. Comma and Semicolon are two punctuation marks used in English language with difference. It should indeed be known that both are not one and the same punctuation. A comma is represented by the punctuation mark of ‘,’. On the other hand, a semicolon is represented by the punctuation mark of ‘;’. As you can see, the punctuation marks differ in appearance as a semicolon is a combination of a full stop and a comma. Then, the greatest difference between the two is in their usage. This article attempts to explain this fact to you as clearly as possible.

What is a Comma?

A comma represents the shortest pause. A comma is used to separate various objects in a sentence as in the example ‘Francis bought a book, an eraser, a pencil, and a sharpener in the stationery shop’. In this sentence, you can see that each word is separated from the next word by means of a comma. In other words, the punctuation mark of comma represents continuity. Here is another example for the use of a comma.

She was great writer, poet, and an actress.

On the other hand, comma also is used to show where there is a slight pause in a sentence or where there is an emphasis on a word.

Regina, she was the evil queen.

Difference Between Comma and Semicolon

What is a Semicolon?

The semicolon represents a pause of greater importance than that shown by the comma. A semicolon is used to separate two related sentences. Look at the following examples.

Angela came back from the shop; she kept the vegetables in the refrigerator.

Lucy entered into the room suddenly; she took her handbag and left in a haste.

In both the examples given above, you can see that a semicolon separates two small sentences. It is very interesting to note that the sentences that are separated by a semicolon are usually small in length. You can see from the examples given above that the sentences are indeed short in length. This is a very important observation to make when it comes to the application of a semicolon. It is also very important that the sentences that are usually separated by a semicolon are often related to each other. They should not be totally unrelated. In the case that the sentences are unrelated, then a semicolon should be substituted by a full stop.

What is the difference between Comma and Semicolon?

• The punctuation marks differ in appearance as a semicolon is a combination of a full stop and a comma.

• A comma represents the shortest pause. A comma is also used when there is an emphasis on a word.

• The semicolon represents a pause of greater importance than that shown by the comma.

• A semicolon also is used to separate two related sentences. The sentences that are usually separated by a semicolon should be related to each other. If not so, a full stop should be used instead of a semicolon.

These are the vital and most talked about differences between two important punctuation marks, namely comma and semicolon.