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When a semicolon is used to join two or more ideas (parts) in a sentence, those ideas are then given equal position or rank.

Some people write with a word processor; others write with a pen or pencil.

Can you use the semi colon or dash to break down this example:

You are the highest bidder; you are to blame; no one else. I can't help you -- try and look for some other help.

As a full stop would change the tone.

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  • This question is quite confusing; I can't tell if you're asking about one sentence, two sentences, or three. – J.R. Jun 6 '18 at 0:38
  • The semicolon is used to join two otherwise complete sentences. In many cases you can replace the semicolon with a dash, for dramatic emphasis. Still, this is far from a rule, so the use of the semicolon in the second sentence is somewhat odd, but acceptable. – Andrew Jun 6 '18 at 5:37
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The two common usages I'm aware of are linking complete sentences that are related to each other and separating items in a list where the items consist of more than one word.

Your first example should use a comma instead of a semi-colon as the second part relies on the first to make sense. Other what? Other people. What other people? Ones that use word processors.

Second example is informal writing based on speech so rules are different. I'd put: "You are the highest bidder. You are to blame, no one else." The second part is fine, the dashes suggest a pause for dramatic effect.

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The purpose of all punctuation is to clarify meaning. The principle use of the semi-colon is to join two related sentences. So ask yourself "If I used a full-stop, would this still make sense".

Some people write with a word processor.
Others write with a pen or pencil.

These are both grammatically complete so the work as complete sentences. But the second one refers to the first, so linking them into a single sentence with semicolon is a good idea.

You are the highest bidder.
You are to blame.
No one else.

I can't help you -- try and look for some other help.

The first two are complete sentences. You could link these with a semicolon, but they are not particularly related, so a full-stop would also be correct. The third is not a complete sentence, so a semicolon doesn't work here. It would be best to use "and"

You the highest bidder. You are to blame, and no one else.

In the last part, a dash has been used instead of a semicolon or full stop, for dramatic effect. That seems reasonable; it certainly doesn't make it hard to understand.

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