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Edit: (I apologize if my question does not make sense. English is not my first language)

Hello, I have just started learning English from online resources and I cannot figure out which sentence is correct:

1st: John was hurt; he knew she only said it to upset him. (uses semi-colon)

2nd: John was hurt, he knew she only said it to upset him. (uses comma)

3rd: John was hurt, but he knew she only said it to upset him. (uses comma and "but")

Thanks

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  • 1
    Welcome to English Language and Usage. Could you isolate any sentences that you know to be incorrect or suspect might be correct?
    – rajah9
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 15:53
  • @rajah9 an example of a sentence is given in the question and no I don't have a specific sentence; I was just reading up where to use a commas and punctuation from online resources. i just wanted to know whether this sentence " John was hurt, he knew she only said it to upset him." and it's variations (described in the question) are correct or not
    – Shashwat
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 16:10
  • Thank you for explaining. I wonder if you have seen our sister site, English Language Learners? I'm going to suggest that your question be moved there.
    – rajah9
    Commented Apr 29, 2019 at 16:24

2 Answers 2

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While the first and the third are grammatical, the second is not.

1st: John was hurt; he knew she only said it to upset him. (uses semi-colon)

This one is correct because both "John was hurt" and "he knew she only said it to upset him" are independent clauses (meaning they may stand independently). Either the semi-colon or a full stop are permitted.

2nd: John was hurt, he knew she only said it to upset him. (uses comma)

The second is not grammatical. It has an error called a "comma splice."

3rd: John was hurt, but he knew she only said it to upset him. (uses comma and "but")

The third one is correct. It uses a coordinating conjunction to combine the two thoughts.

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1st and 3rd are both much the same. No.2 isn't really normal usage.

Imagine replacing the semi-colon with a full-stop - the sentence still makes sense as two seperate sentences. Alternatively, imagine removing the comma, and the sentence no longer 'flows' correctly.

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