When joining two sentences, when do you use a comma? When do you use a semicolon? It’s actually pretty easy to determine. The answer lies below.
Comma and semi-colon usage for clauses.
Use a comma + a little conjunction to connect two independent clauses. “He hit the ball well, but he ran toward third base.”
(for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)
Place a semicolon before the conjunctive adverb and a comma after the conjunctive adverb when connecting two independent clauses. “The tire was flat; therefore, we changed it.”
(accordingly, additionally, also, besides, comparatively, consequently, conversely, finally, further, furthermore, elsewhere, equally, hence, henceforth, however, in addition, in comparison, in contrast, in other words, indeed, instead, likewise, meanwhile, moreover, namely, nevertheless, next, now, on the contrary, otherwise, rather, similarly, still, subsequently, then, therefore, thus, yet)
If a conjunctive adverb is used in any other position in a sentence it is set off by commas.
“Nonetheless, some colleges are making efforts to trim budgets and pass along the savings.”
“Secretary Bennett, however, maintains that more federal aid would only encourage universities to count on the government to meet any increases they might impose.”
Subordinating conjunctions join two independent clauses together, thus making one dependent (or “subordinate”) upon the other.
Because it is raining, we have an umbrella. (comma necessary)We have an umbrella because it is raining. (no comma necessary)
When the dependent clause is placed first in a sentence, use a comma between the two clauses. When the independent clause is placed first and the dependent clause second, do not separate the two clauses with a comma.
(after, although, as, as if, as long as, as much as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even, even if, even though, if, if only, if when, if then, in as much, in order that, just as, lest, now, now since, now that, now when, once, provided, provided that, rather than, since, so that, supposing, than, that, though, til, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, where if, wherever, whether, which, while, who, whoever, why)