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分號(;)

分號(;)這個標點符號最常用來連接兩個有邏輯關連的獨立子句。分號與逗號不同,因為它的目的是強調兩個子句之間的關連。分號也可以用在清單裡,區分太長或有內部標點符號而難以列舉的項目。這一份簡單易解的指南,要為您說明寫作中使用分號的時機和方法。

使用分號的時機

錯誤 正確
連接兩個獨立子句

The dress is for my mother, who is sitting over there.

The dress is for my mother; who is sitting over there.

列舉長片語的項目

I am taking my mother to the beach; a French restaurant; and a dessert café.

I am taking my mother to the beach to see the sunset; a French restaurant, which my sister-in-law recommended; and a dessert café to drink coffee and eat canelés.

連接子句

分號最常見的用途是連接兩個獨立子句。用分號而不用逗號,有助於強調兩個思想密切關連的子句。

獨立子句 vs 從屬子句

獨立子句是一個可以運作的完整句子。

  • The dress is green with white flowers.
  • Audrey bought the dress for eighty-nine dollars.
  • The shop is closing soon.

相反地,從屬子句沒有完整句子的功能。

  • which has white flowers
  • even though it was expensive
  • because it is late

用分號連接兩個獨立子句

參閱以下兩個獨立子句:

(a)
It is almost 10 pm.
(b)
The shops will be closing soon.
(a) + (b) =
It is almost 10 pm; the shops will be closing soon.

(a)(b) 都是有邏輯連接的獨立子句。合併句意味著商店馬上就要打烊,因為快到晚上 10點了。

用冒號連接兩個沒有邏輯關連的獨立子句,是不值得推薦的做法。

(a)
The shops will be closing soon.
(b)
I had fried chicken for dinner.

這裡的 (a)(b) 沒有密切的關連,因此,用句點把它們分開是最好的做法。

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清單項目

分號還可以用來列舉太長、複雜或有內部標點符號的項目。

例句
Lana is driving to LA to see her niece, who loves Barbie dolls; her best friend, who works at a music production company; and a former co-worker, who has recently started a new business.

這些項目的每一個—“her niece, who loves Barbie dolls,”、 “her best friend, who works at a music production company,” 和 “a former co-worker, who has recently started a new business” —都太長,而且含有內部標點符號。用逗號(註:中文為頓號)區分這個清單裡的項目,會讓這個句子難以閱讀。

逗號 vs 分號

如果清單的項目是單字或簡單的片語,最好使用逗號(註:中文為頓號)。

例句
For her birthday, Lana received a gold locket, a red scarf, and an iPad.

然而,如果項目比較長又比較複雜(也就是說,獨立子句或含有內部標點符號的項目),最好是用分號來列舉。

例句
For her birthday, Lana received a gold locket with an ornate inlay; a red scarf, which she wore immediately; and a first-generation iPad to play her music.

常見的分號錯誤

許多人由於對分號不熟悉,因而經常會不正確地使用。注意,分號只能用來分隔兩個獨立的子句或列舉複雜的項目。

連接一個獨立子句和一個從屬子句

首先也是最重要的,不要把分號和逗號混為一談。逗號經常被用來連接從屬子句和獨立子句;分號就無法用於這個目的。

錯誤
Lana bought the dress; which is green with white flowers.
正確
Lana bought the dress, which is green with white flowers.

分開引導片語和主句

另一個常見的錯誤,是用分號把引導片語和句子的主體分開。要把引導字或片語跟主句分開,應該用逗號,不是分號。

錯誤
On Wednesday evenings; Lana babysits her two-year-old nephew.
正確
On Wednesday evenings, Lana babysits her two-year-old nephew.