English - Semicolons


Semicolons can:

Semicolons act like a period in some cases, like a comma in others.

Like a


When a semicolon joins two independent clauses, use it like a period:

  • Mark found the new route easy; the other climbers were impressed.
  • The balloon floated up to the ceiling; the baby cried.

Even though you can use semicolons like a period, you should use them sparingly, usually with an adverbial conjunction:

  • The new law goes into effect today; therefore, you can no longer turn right on a red light between 4 and 6 p.m


You can also use semicolons in between items in a series when those items have commas.

  • An unidentified flying object was spotted in Roswell, New Mexico; Amarillo, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Paducah, Kentucky.
  • He disliked ice cream, cookies, and cake; horror movies, cherub statues, and violins; and sleeping, playing dominoes, and counting on his fingers.


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