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At a comma, stop a little; at a semi-colon somewhat more. (R.Hodges).

Is it poetic licence to use a semi-colon this way? Or if the meaning is clear and main verb implied/understood is it standard English?

Could you have: The car is showing signs of age and paint damage; present particularly in its loss of colour and scratches.

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It is poetic licence. The rules say that semicolons should join complete sentences. It should always be correct grammar to replace a semicolon by a full stop.

In practice this rule is sometimes bent, sometimes broken. Sometimes a semicolon is used just to provide for a "bigger" break than the other commas in the sentence. However I don't see a use for the semicolon in your example; a comma would suffice. The final part seems to be a relative clause meaning "... that is present...". The sentence is not particularly clear or well thought out. What does 'present' mean in the implied: "The paint damage is 'present' in the loss of colour"?

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  • It needs a comma, not a semicolon. The car is showing signs of age and paint damage, [which are] present particularly in its loss of colour and scratches. Jul 29, 2021 at 21:40
  • I agree. A comma is suitable in the sentence. A semi-colon is used to link two closely related but independent clauses. For instance, some people like to write using a pen; others like to write using a word processor. Jul 31, 2021 at 8:11

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