Here's an incorrect use; of a semicolon

Jefferson has been with the paper for a year; Hill for 30 years.

Mr. Rewrite thought he could post about semicolons yesterday and walk away without discussing the rules. Then he spotted the phrase above in an article by someone paid to know better.

Here's the deal:

A semicolon goes between two related independent clauses (an independent clause has a subject and a verb, meaning each could stand as its own sentence). Example: Mr. Rewrite keeps watch; two readers watch him.

Don't use a semicolon between two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction. Example: Mr. Rewrite enjoys his two readers, and they enjoy him.

A semicolon goes between two related independent clauses linked with a transitional word or phrase and a comma. Example: Mr. Rewrite loves most readers; however, some give him fits.

So anyway, the phrase that opened this post uses a semicolon incorrectly because there aren't two independent clauses.

Here's a good rundown on semicolon rules.

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