Writing for Business

Oct 30 2008   6:26PM GMT

Quiz: Writing for business — commas and semicolons

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
The office was reduced to a ________ employees worked a lot of very long shifts.
a. skeleton crew,
b. skeleton crew;

Answer: b

If the punctuation is joining two independent clauses (which are, essentially, complete sentences in themselves), use a semicolon rather than a comma. The reason to use a semicolon here rather than making it two separate sentences is to indicate that the separate clauses are closely connected. In this case, the employees were working long shifts because the number of employees had been reduced.

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