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GMAT Tuesday: How Do I Use Semicolons?

Although not explicitly tested on the GMAT, it’s good to know how these are supposed to used. It’s easy to be thrown off if you come across these and aren’t sure what they mean. A student asked about them, so I want to clear the air and make clear what they mean.

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5 Responses to GMAT Tuesday: How Do I Use Semicolons?

  1. Pranav August 18, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Hi Kevin,

    In the video above , If there are two possible statements
    1) Fog continues to cover the airport ; consequently all flights have been grounded.
    2) Fog continues to cover the airport therefore all flights have been grounded.

    which one is better when asked in GMAT exam. ?

    Thanks .

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

      Those really are two very similar statements– make sure you also put a semicolon before “therefore,” though! Either of those sentences might potentially be OK on the GMAT. However, in most cases, “consequently” is a better word choice than :”therefore” in this sentence. This is because “consequently” clearly suggests cause and effect. And what we see here is a physical cause and effect. Fog blocks visibility >>> flights are grounded. “Therefore” can sometimes denote cause and effect, but this word is more often used to show a relationship between analysis and conclusion. So “therefore” is not as strong of a word choice.

  2. Eloy May 12, 2016 at 3:28 am #

    I love your videos Kevin, you are so funny and you really crack me up! 🙂

    But the most important thing… They are sooo useful! Thank you! 😀

  3. Jake W January 5, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    A little unrelated, but “burst” seems like a verb that is in a singular and plural form when written “burst”. Would the GMAT test subj-verb agreement by writing “bursts”? Obviously, we hear that used all the time and if I didn’t look this up, I would have undoubtedly chosen the wrong answer.

    We love the energy Kevin, thanks for the videos.

    • Kevin Rocci
      Kevin Rocci January 6, 2016 at 9:15 am #

      Hi Jake! 😀

      Glad to hear you like the videos!

      Great question about “burst” too! It’s a funny little verb. “Burst” is the singular form of the verb and “bursts” is the plural form. You can read more about “burst” by clicking here, but it looks like you already looked it up. 😀

      As for the GMAT, this would be fair game. They could definitely test “burst” in it’s singular or plural form. I don’t have an example at hand of the GMAT doing so, but it is definitely something that you may see on test day. I will say, though, that the sentences I used in this video were aimed at illustrating how to use a semicolon—not demonstrating possible sentence correction questions on the GMAT. 😀

      I hope that helps!

      Happy Studying!

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