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Write the Right Word: Joining Independent Clauses

If you combine two independent clauses, which basically are complete sentences, to form one thought, you may need to separate them with a semicolon.

That’s especially the case when you join these clauses with a conjunctive adverb. Adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Conjunctive adverbs connect words, phrases or clauses and smooth the transition between them. “However,” “otherwise,” “besides,” “meanwhile,” “also” and “thus” are some conjunctive adverbs.

You need a semicolon before the conjunctive adverb and a comma after it or you will have a run-on sentence. For example: “The producer planned to buy a new tractor this year; however, he may have to postpone that purchase until 2016 because of low grain prices.” “Budget your money carefully; otherwise, you may not have enough for vacation.”

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