1. She looks above; the bird is coming straight towards her.

Is the use of semicolon valid here?

1 Answer 1


Yes, but it's not the only punctuation mark that could be used.

The litmus test for checking the validity of a semi-colon is whether or not both sides of the punctuation mark form complete sentences on their own. In this case, they do.

This means, by default, a writer has a choice: to use a semi-colon, or to break it into two sentences. Moreover, in cases like this one, a dash could also be used:

She looks above – the bird is coming straight toward her.

According to the Purdue OWL, an author would use a semi-colon when both parts of the sentence should have equal emphasis. When a dash is used, that indicates there is additional emphasis on the part following the dash. That's why I'd prefer a dash in this case – the part about the bird zooming toward the woman seems more important and significant to the woman glancing above her head.

By the way, there are additional usages of a semi-colon; however, the one I've discussed here is the usage that applies to this sentence.


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