Writing for Business

May 7 2009   8:09PM GMT

Independent clauses and punctuation

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?
In the future, marketers won’t ask for consumers’ __________ just read their minds.
a. opinions: They’ll
b. opinions, they’ll

Answer: a

Explanation: If a sentence consists of two independent clauses (clauses that could stand on their own as sentences), they can only be joined by a semicolon or a colon. A semicolon is used to join two independent clauses that are more closely related than would be indicated by separate sentences. A colon is used if the second independent clause explains the first one. (If you use a comma instead, you’re making an error called a comma splice.)

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