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「英文『;』分號怎麼用?」- How to Use a Semicolon


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It may seem like the semicolon is struggling with an identity crisis. It looks like a comma crossed with a period. Maybe that's why we toss these punctuation marks around like grammatical confetti. We're confused about how to use them properly. In fact, it's the semicolon's half-half status that makes it useful. It's stronger than a comma and less final than a period. It fills the spaces in between, and for that reason, it has some specific and important tasks. For one, it can clarify ideas in a sentence that's already festooned with commas.
分號似乎正在對抗一場身分認同危機。它看起來就像一個逗號加上一個句號。或許那就是為什麼我們把這些標點符號像文法的彩色碎紙一樣亂丟的原因。我們對該如何正確使用它們感到很困惑。事實上,正是分號那一半一半的身分使它十分有用處。它比逗號還要有力,但比起句號又沒那麼強烈地結尾。它滿足了這之間的空間,因為那樣,分號有一些特殊且重要的任務。其中一個,它可以清楚說明一句已經被逗號弄得眼花撩亂的句子的意思。

Semicolons: At first, they may seem frightening; then, they become enlightening; finally, you'll find yourself falling for these delightful punctuation marks. Even though the commas separate different parts of the sentence, it's easy to lose track of what belongs where. But then the semicolon edges in to the rescue. In list-like sentences, it can exert more force than commas do—cutting sentences into compartments and grouping items that belong together. The semicolon breaks things up, but it also builds connections.
分號:一開始,它們看起來好像很嚇人;接著,它們變得豁然開朗;最後,你會發現自己愛上這些討喜的標點符號。雖然逗號隔開句子不同的部分,還是很容易會搞混什麼東西屬於哪裡。但接著分號跑進來救援。在像列表一樣的句子中,分號可以比逗號使上更多力--將句子切成一個個區塊,還有將同屬的物品分在一起。分號將事物拆開,但它也建立起連結。

Another of its tasks is to link together independent clauses. These are sentences that can stand on their own, but when connected by semicolons, look and sound better because they're related in some way. Semicolons were once a great mystery to me. I had no idea where to put them. Technically, there's nothing wrong with that. These two sentences can stand alone. But imagine they appeared in a long list of other sentences, all of the same length, each separated by periods. Things would get monotonous very fast. In that situation, semicolons bring fluidity and variation to writing by connecting related clauses.
分號的另一項任務是將獨立子句連接在一起。這些是可以單獨存在的句子,但當被分號連接起來時,這些句子看起來和聽起來會順很多,因為它們在某方面是有關聯性的。分號對我來說一度曾是一個很難理解的事物。我不知道該把它們擺在哪裡。技術上來說,那樣沒什麼不對。這兩個句子可以單獨存在。但想像它們出現在一個其它句子組成的一長串清單內,裡面的句子長度都一樣,每句都用句號隔開。一切很快就會變得單調乏味。在那樣的狀況下,分號靠著連接起有關聯的子句來帶給寫作流暢和變化性。

But as beneficial as they are, semicolons don't belong just anywhere. There are two main rules that govern their use: Firstly, unless they're being used in lists, semicolons should only connect clauses that are related in some way. You wouldn't use one here, for instance. Semicolons were once a great mystery to me; I'd really like a sandwich. Periods work best here because these are two totally different ideas. A semicolon's job is to reunite two independent clauses that will benefit from one another's company because they refer to the same thing.
但儘管用分號好處多多,分號也不是到哪都合適。有兩個掌管分號用法的主要規則:首先,除非它們是被用在列表內,不然分號應該只能連接在某些方面有關聯的子句。舉例來說,你不會在這裡用分號。分號對我來說一度曾是一個很難理解的事物;我非常樂意來一塊三明治。在這裡,用句號會比較好,因為這是兩個完全不一樣的想法。分號的工作是連接起會因另一句的陪伴獲得好處的兩個獨立子句,因為它們提到相同事物。

Secondly, you'll almost never find a semicolon willingly stationed before coordinating conjunctions: the words "and," "but," "for," "nor," "or," "so," and "yet." That's a comma's place, in fact. But a semicolon can replace a conjunction to shorten the sentence or to give it some variety.
第二,你幾乎永遠不會找到一個分號樂意被擺在對等連接詞前:「and(而且)」、「but(但)」、「for(因為)」、「nor(也不)」、「or(或)」、「so(因此)」,還有「yet(然而)」這些字。事實上,那是逗號的位子。但分號可以取代連接詞來縮短句子或給它一點變化。

Ultimately, this underappreciated punctuation mark can give writing clarity, force, and style—all encompassed in one tiny dot and squiggle that's just waiting to be put in the right place.
最後,這個被低估的標點符號可以為寫作帶來明確性、力度還有風格--全部包含在一個等著被擺到適合位置的小點點和彎線裡。

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