The most difficult punctuation mark?
A semicolon is often used where a full-stop or comma could have been used. It balances out two clauses that have a related meaning. It can also be used in lists, especially in more complex lists. It is often misused or ignored; especially as it is so subtle.
This hubpage is all about the semicolon and what it can do for you.
Using the semicolon
You can connect related concepts and ideas with the semicolon, especially when you want the emphasis a comma or full stop cannot provide. If you use them, then you can bring a different level to your writing, varying the pace of your text and increasing the impression you make on the reader.
Connecting related ideas
You can use the semicolon to link two related clauses to each other:
Clinton likes pasta; Sarah really liked pasta.
You can also link clauses using conjunctive adverbs, helping to connect the related themes.
It is expected that most people will work 5 days a week for most of their life; as a result, a lot of people will never have the free time that they crave.
Semicolons can also be used to link lists where a comma is already present, helping to avoid confusion for the reader.
They visited five different locations: Paris, Texas; Brighton & Hove; and Sheffield, Tokyo and Dublin.
Links to Semicolon websites
- Semicolon examples
I find the examples of semicolons really useful on this website. All the different ways you can use the semicolon are shown on here.
- using a Semicolon
This page describes in more depth how to use the semicolon, listing all the different ways you can use it.
- Colons and Semicolons
Colons and Semicolons: A website all about semicolons and colons, including how they vary and how to use them.