The KISS Grammar Workbooks Back to April Menu

A Study in Semicolons
[For KISS Levels Three +]
"The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo," by Rudyard Kipling

Directions: Most textbooks claim that semicolons have two purposes. First, they can be used to separate items in a list when the items themselves include commas (as in lists of addresses). Second, they are used to separate main clauses, especially if the two clauses express contrasting ideas. The following sentences contain the 32 semicolons that appear in the presentation of "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo," by Rudyard Kipling. Number your paper from 1 to 32. After each number, write "list" if the semicolon is used for that purpose. 
     Write "MC" if it separates main clauses. If the main clauses express contrasting or distinctly different ideas, write "MC-C" and, after that write two words that describe the contrast or distinction, for example, "young; old," "then; now," "big; small," "two; four." If they do not express contrasting or distinctly different ideas, write "MC-NC" (Main Clauses - No Contrast).
    If the semicolon is not used for a list or to separate main clauses, simply write a question mark.

1. Make me different from all other animals; [#1] make me, also, wonderfully popular by five this afternoon.

2. Make me different from all other animals; [#2] make me popular and wonderfully run after by five this afternoon.

3. He ran through the desert; [#3] he ran through the mountains; [#4] he ran through the salt-pans; [#5] he ran through the reed-beds; [#6] he ran through the blue gums; [#7] he ran through the spinifex; [#8] he ran till his front legs ached. 

4. He ran through the ti-trees; [#9] he ran through the mulga; [#10] he ran through the long grass; [#11] he ran through the short grass; [#12] he ran through the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer; [#13] he ran till his hind legs ached.

5. Still ran Dingo ó Yellow-Dog Dingo ó hungrier and hungrier, grinning like a horse-collar, never getting nearer, never getting farther; [#14] and they came to the Woligong River. 

6. Now, there wasnít any bridge, and there wasnít any ferry-boat, and Kangaroo didnít know how to get over; [#15] so he stood on his legs and hopped. 

7. He hopped through the Flinders; [#16] he hopped through the Cinders; [#17] he hopped through the deserts in the middle of Australia. 

8. First he hopped one yard; [#18] then he hopped three yards; [#19] then he hopped five yards; [#20] his legs growing stronger; [#21] his legs growing longer. 

9. For he hopped like a cricket; [#22] like a pea in a saucepan; [#23] or a new rubber ball on a nursery floor. 

10. He tucked up his front legs; [#24] he hopped on his hind legs; [#25] he stuck out his tail for a balance-weight behind him; [#26] and he hopped through the Darling Downs. 

11. Down sat Dingo ó Poor Dog Dingo ó always hungry, dusky in the sunshine; [#27] hung out his tongue and howled. 

12. Heís chased me out of the homes of my childhood; [#28] heís chased me out of my regular meal-times; [#29] heís altered my shape so Iíll never get it back; [#30] and heís played Old Scratch with my legs

13. Iíve made him different from all other animals; [#31] but what may I have for my tea?

14. Yellow-Dog Dingo is drawn black, because I am not allowed to paint these pictures with real colours out of the paint-box; [#32] and besides, Yellow-Dog Dingo got dreadfully black and dusty after running through the Flinders and the Cinders.