Turkish Punctuation (Türkçede Noktalama İşaretleri): Semicolon (Noktalı Virgül) [;]
Updated: Feb 9
with examples from newspapers, scientific articles, literature, poetry…
❝ SEMICOLON ❞
In Turkish, semicolons are not used as often as in English. For example, Turkish independent clauses are set off with commas rather than semicolons, as it would be in English, unless the clauses are too disconnected and/or already have commas. For example:
Erkek çocuklara Doğan, Tuğrul, Aslan, Orhan; kız çocuklara ise İnci, Çiçek, Gönül, Yonca adları verilir.
➥ Boys are named Doğan, Tuğrul, Aslan, and Orhan and girls, Çiçek, Gönül, and Yonca.
At ölür, meydan kalır; yiğit ölür, şan kalır. (Atasözü)
➥ The horse dies, the square remains; the valiant dies, the glory remains. (Proverb)
Oku; adam ol baban gibi, eşek olma.
➥ Read! Be a man like your father, don't be an ass.
In the sentence below, a semicolon is used to mark off an adverbial clause in a complex sentence with commas:
Kadınlarımızın çalışmama nedenleri arasında; başta çocukları olmak üzere ailelerini bırakamamak, eşlerinin müsaade etmemesi, çalışmanın kendileri için emniyetli olmadığını düşünmeleri gibi sebepler yatıyormuş.
➥ Among the reasons for our women not working: unwillingness to abandon their families, especially their children; their husbands won’t allow them; they think of the working environment as not safe for them.
☝ Just as commas, semicolons also set off subjects in longer, more complex sentences, and the choice of semicolon vs. comma to mark off the subject may change the meaning of the sentence.
A semicolon may be required to separate the subject from the rest of the sentence consisting of a series.
Let’s consider this sentence and the reason why we should opt for a semicolon rather than a comma to mark off the subject:
Genç; güzel bir kızla evlendi.
➥ The youth married a beautiful girl.
The reason becomes clear if we place a comma instead of the semicolon. Now, let’s see how the meaning of the sentence changes:
Genç, güzel bir kızla evlendi.
➥ He married a young, beautiful girl.
In the following sentences, if we move the semicolon to place it after the next name, the meaning of the sentence changes as well:
Hacer; Serap, Betül ve Şeyma’dan daha tecrübeli.
➥ Hacer is more experienced than Serap, Betül, and Şeyma.
Hacer❟ Serap; Betül ve Şeyma’dan daha tecrübeli.
➥ Hacer, Serap are more experienced than Betül and Şeyma.
However, semicolons are used in complex sentences before the adversative conjunctions ama, fakat, yalnız, ancak, lakin, ne var ki, ne yazık ki, ama, çünkü. For example:
Çocuk çok zayıf; fakat her türlü işi yapıyor.
➥ The kid is very skinny but can do any work.
Bu yaşa gelmiş; lakin hiçbir şey bilmiyor.
➥ He's lived this long but knows nothing.
İstediğin kadar alabilirsin; yalnız kardeşine de vereceksin.
➥ You can have as many as you want; only, you'll have to share with your brother, too.
Sen kullanabilirsin; ama kimse duymasın.
➥ You can use it, but don't tell anyone [no one can hear about it].
Yarın resmi tatil; ne var ki biz çalışacağız.
➥ Tomorrow is the official holiday; however, we'll be working.