Where do you put semicolons?

Answers

Kendra Whitmire, Writer and Tutor

User avatar for Kendra Whitmire

In addition to linking two closely related independent clauses without a conjunction, semicolons are also used for lists that already include commas. For example, if you are writing a sentence that lists cities and states, you would write the list as follows: Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Miami, Florida. The semicolons make the division between items on the list clearer.

The only other time that a semicolon is used is when you link two independent clauses with conjunctive adverbs or a transitional phrase. Examples of conjunctive adverbs include therefore, however, although, and indeed. A transitional phrase would be something similar to "for example," "in other words," and "as a result."

An example sentence that uses semicolons due to conjunctive adverbs is as follows: I love to go swimming; however, I do not get to swim much because I do not live near a pool. An example using a transitional phrase would be this sentence: I have a lot of reading still to do for school; as a result, I have to skip band practice tonight.

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Anonymous, sddf

Hi, Kendra gives you a nicely illustrated answer here. Using semicolons to separate groups of items in a list is of course zarchiver download a more sophisticated zarchiver pro way of using them. As she and Will point out, the most common way to use them is to connect two closely related independent zarchiver clauses (complete sentences).

cassandra story, Purdue University

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Purdue University Online is great tool to check grammar if you hesitate and I know that essay writing center is guided by their instructions. Moreover, if you need a proofreading and have no time, guys can certainly help.

Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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Hi, Kendra gives you a nicely illustrated answer here. Using semicolons to separate groups of items in a list is of course a more sophisticated way of using them. As she and Will point out, the most common way to use them is to connect two closely related independent clauses (complete sentences).

      Example: Tell Tyler to pick up dog food on his way home; he forgot to do so yesterday.

You can use a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase to start that second clause after the semicolon, but it isn't necessary.

I emphasize two things when I talk about semicolons: 1) If you are using one to connect independent clauses, make sure that you have a complete sentence before AND after it.

2) If you are unsure about where to place semicolons, and you don't have time to consult with a tutor or tutorial, don't use them. When you use them incorrectly, your writing looks very uneducated. Err on the side of clarity. There is nothing wrong with writing short, simple sentences ... it worked pretty well for Hemingway!

Will Carington, works for Noodle

User avatar for Will Carington

Semicolons are most often used to link two closely-related independent clauses; in other words, they join together two clauses which could otherwise stand alone as complete sentences in order to show relation or to add nuance.

For more help with semicolons, check out the following resources:

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