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Would a semicolon be used in the following instance? Looking for alternatives to using 'as I did this' or 'while I did that' lines. I should probably just be using a comma, but please let me know what you think.

Example: "I wouldn't do that if i were you," I warned him; my hand inching close to the gun.

Thank you in advance for any input.

  • Hi James. Welcome to Writing SE. It looks like there are similar questions to the one you're asking. – rolfedh Jul 10 at 22:21
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    A lot of that was similar to what I'd already found doing searches on semicolon uses. It pretty much confirmed that it wasn't right. Found a good page about dialogue tags where I finally found the sentence structure like my example. It's properly written with a comma rather than a semicolon. Thanks for your input. – James Jul 11 at 1:07
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    My hand inching close to the gun is not an independent clause. My hand was inching closer to the gun is. So is my hand inched close to the gun. A semicolon would be okay with either of those. It's also not a list item of any kind. If it doesn't make sense to use a period, it also doesn't make sense to use a semicolon. But in this particular sentence, I don't see it being an acceptable sentence fragment. It's a dependent clause; without rewording it, there should be a comma. – Jason Bassford Jul 11 at 4:21
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    @James I recommend answering your question. You can cement your knowledge by explaining it to others, and you can help future users who have a similar questions. (Plus you can earn points!) – rolfedh Jul 11 at 12:54
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@Jason Bassford nailed it.

Blockquote My hand inching close to the gun is not an independent clause. My hand was inching closer to the gun is. So is my hand inched close to the gun. A semicolon would be okay with either of those. It's also not a list item of any kind. If it doesn't make sense to use a period, it also doesn't make sense to use a semicolon. But in this particular sentence, I don't see it being an acceptable sentence fragment. It's a dependent clause; without rewording it, there should be a comma. – Jason Bassford

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