The semicolon generally connects two complete sentences, showing that they are closely related. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. Clear punctuation can help your writing so you are easily understood and your meaning is obvious. When to use a semi-colon A semi-colon is used when you want to link two independent clauses that are closely related in a single sentence. Support and resources for taught students. When a sentence contains multiple commas in the first clause, it is appropriate to use a semicolon before a conjunction to join two clauses. Here's the logic: If your list was complicated enough to warrant using semicolons, then you should maintain them throughout the structure of your list. Semicolons can be used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a conjunction (example 1 below). After reading the handout, you will be better able to decide when to use these forms of punctuation in your own writing. Use a semicolon before such words and terms as namely, however, therefore, that is, i.e., for example, e.g., for instance, etc., when they introduce a complete sentence. A colon has a number of functions and is indicated by two full-stops, one above the other. For other inquiries, Contact Us. By using semicolons effectively, you can make your writing sound more sophisticated. Test your ability by identifying which sentences are correct. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. Emojification: To create a winking emoji when placed before a closing round bracket. Mimi Angela on September 18, 2011 10:03 pm. Many great leaders, Churchill, leader of Britain during the Second World War; Alexander, the great Emperor and general; and Napolean, the brilliant French general, had strong characters, which were useful when their countries were at war but which did not serve them well in times of peace. It is also used to introduce a list but the clause before the colon must make complete sense on its own. Semicolons can also be used instead of commas to separate the items in a list when the items themselves already contain commas (example 2 below). The temperature of the surrounding was below zero; Jincy wondered if she would freeze to death. Semicolons Separate Clauses Semicolons separate things. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. Each item in the sentence … The director often used her favourite quotation from Monty Python: “I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.”. Why not use a period, then? Like colons, semicolons shouldn't be used to connect more than two clauses and you do not capitalize the first word of the second clause. Semicolons can also be used instead of commas to separate the items in a list when the items themselves already contain commas (example 2 below). © EF Education First 2020. Other Examples of Proper Semicolon Use. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. That means they're to be used when you're dealing with two complete thoughts that could stand alone as a sentence. If the colon precedes the quotation, the quote should always begin with a capital letter. Grammar: The Semicolon [ ; ] The semicolon represents a break midway between a comma and a full stop, and is principally used to separate independent (sentence-like) clauses that are strongly related – Never use a lathe or any other machine in the workshop if you are feeling ill … That’s right, the first two tips are the only circumstances … The main task of the semicolon is to mark a break that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop. I also love the semicolon, but was taught, in the British ‘old-school’ style, that neither semicolon nor comma should precede a positive conjunction. The colon (:) seems to bewilder many people, though it's really rather easy to use correctly, since it has only one major use.But first please note the following: the colon is never preceded by a white space; it is always followed by a single white space in normal use, and it is never, never, never followed by a hyphen or a dash — in spite of what you might have been taught in school. Eg. Read more about the Oxford Comma. The potion contained some exotic ingredients: snails’ eyes, bats’ tongues and garlic. Use our simple guide to sort out when to use a colon and when a semi-colon is needed. “Punctuation…?” a thirty-five-page illustrated punctuation guide created by User designexplains the difference between both kinds of colon: “A semicolon links two balanced statements; a colon explains or unpacks the statement or information before it.” If that’s not clear enough, here is another quote that will help you fe… When too many commas are used in one sentence, the sentence becomes confusing. They can also separate two main clauses or grouped items in a list. Three groups of people aren't allowed the coronavirus vaccine - but why? 679215 Registered office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. It is also preferable to use a comma after these words and terms. Semicolons represent two closely linked independent clauses. Semicolons can be used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a conjunction (example 1 below). You can use semicolons to divide the items of a list if the items are long or contain internal punctuation. Manutius established the practice of using the semicolon to separate words of opposed meaning and to allow a rapid change in direction in connecting interdependent statements. Quiz: Semicolons Think you know when to use a semicolon in your writing? Rules for Using Semicolons A semicolon is most commonly used to link (in a single sentence) two independent clauses that are closely related in thought. When using semicolons as separators, you should use the semicolon with the conjunction. Joy Luderman on April 17, 2011 4:32 am. Terry always slept with the light on; he was afraid of the dark. It is indicated by placing a … THE colon and semi-colon are punctuation marks that are often misused although we give you a clear and precise guide of when they are used. Semicolons can also be used instead of commas to separate the items in a list when the items themselves already contain commas (example 2 below). The first three semicolon use cases are really just variations on this method, which treats the semicolon as a kind of intermediary punctuation mark, between the period and the comma. MLA Handbook, 8th edition. When… The semicolon is somewhere between a full stop and a comma. It is indicated by placing a full-stop above a comma. Do not use a semicolon for anything else. Eg. I get a lot of questions about semicolons, so it's time to clear up some confusion. The University of Bristol uses this example: You are left with only one option: press on until you have mastered it. Semicolons can be used to separate parts of a sentence. Using semicolons to connect ideas. All rights reserved. Ben Jonson was the first notable English writer to use the semicolon systematically. Includes maths and statistics, academic writing, dissertations, assignments, preparing for exams, referencing. History. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. By continuing to browse our website, you agree to our use of cookies. While a capital letter is always used when quoting there is some debate whether a capital letter should be used in all cases following a colon. Things to Remember When Using a Semicolon: Like a comma or period, there’s no space between the semicolon and the word preceding it. It can also be used to tidy up a long list of items which also contains commas. You should use a semicolon to join things of equal weight or significance, whereas use a colon to join things of equal or unequal significance. The colon is also used to introduce quoted material. A semicolon helps to break up the clauses and avoid confusion for the reader. Clarity: To make a sentence that’s already subdivided by commas more readable.In this case, the semi-colon acts as a super-comma. In the meeting today we have Professor Wilson, University of Barnsley; Dr Watson, University of Barrow in Furness; Colonel Custard, Metropolitan Police and Dr Mable Syrup, Genius General, University of Otago, New Zealand. The first word following a semicolon is always lowercase (except for proper nouns). The semicolon is somewhere between a full stop and a comma. Eg. Eg. A semicolon is used to separate two independent clauses while still demonstrating that a close relationship exists between them. Facebook, Messenger & Instagram 'down' in mysterious mass outage, users complain, Queen forms 'New Firm' of 8 to attend events - without Harry, Meghan or Andrew, 32 men charged with almost 200 offences against 8 girls as young as 13, Wife reveals why she takes a bite out of her man’s packed lunch every day, ©News Group Newspapers Limited in England No. Example: Bring any two items; … This handout explains the most common uses of three kinds of punctuation: semicolons (;), colons (:), and dashes (—). Most commonly, they separate two main clauses that are closely … The use of the semicolon suggests that the writer sees the two smaller sentences as being more closely related than the average two consecutive sentences; preferring the semicolon to and often gives a more vivid sense of the relation between the two. In these cases, the semicolon helps readers keep track of the divisions between the items. It can introduce an idea that is an explanation of what comes before the colon in a sentence. Learn how and when to use a semicolon (;) in English with semicolon rules and examples. Not only does the semicolon connect two closely-related independent clauses, it can also be used to show a relationship between clauses when used with adverbs like however, moreover, therefore, thus, consequently, and furthermore.. Let’s take a look. However, like a comma or period, there is one space that follows before the next word. The semicolon does a better job of showing the connection between two statements than a full stop would. To begin with, forget anything you've ever been told about using a comma "wherever you would pause", or anything of the sort; this well-meaning advice is hopelessly misleading. Semicolons can be used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a conjunction (example 1 below). Thanks for this one. News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. Linking Items in a List Write a sentence that contains a complicated list. Use semicolons sparingly! View our online Press Pack. • Use a semicolon to connect two complete sentences not joined by and, or, but, yet or while. Semicolons help you connect closely related ideas when a style mark stronger than a comma is needed. To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. A semi-colon is used to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out. A semicolon can be used instead of a full stop between two related sentences or independent clauses. Semicolons Separate Phrases or Items in a List or Series. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link: thesun.co.uk/editorial-complaints/, Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed, Using a colon or semi-colon can be confusing, Using colons and semi-colons can be confusing for some, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The first printed semicolon was the work of the Italian printer Aldus Manutius the Elder in 1494. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. This links them together in a way a full stop does not. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material, visit our Syndication site. A semi-colon is used when you want to link two independent clauses that are closely related in a single sentence. Some guides just advise to be consistent while others say if the explanation following a colon is longer than one sentence a capital letter should be used but not if it is just one. I need the weather statistics for the following cities: London, England; London, Ontario; Paris, France; Paris, Ontario; Perth, Scotland; Perth, Ontario. Copyright © Larry Trask, 1997 Maintained by the Department of Informatics , University of Sussex I also love the semi-colon and have even been known to use it in a text message! Today's topic is semicolons. In the UK, it is less common. Let’s understand with examples: 1. When to Use a Semicolon # 1. This is where things get tricky (and where I got things wrong when describing that dragon at the beginning of this article). It’s used between two main clauses that balance each other and are too closely linked to be made into separate sentences, as in these two examples: The road runs through a beautiful wooded valley; the railway line follows it. Parallelism: To separate two independent clauses that are related but equally weighted.In other words, one is not a consequence of or subordinate to the other. The Colon. Also check out the recent post on serial commas and serial semicolons on The MLA Style Center. ) This service is provided on News Group Newspapers' Limited's Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Policy. A semicolon is used in place of a comma to separate phrases or items in a list or series when the phrases or items themselves contain commas or are especially long: Harry set out to find a dessert that would demonstrate his deep appreciation of … A semicolon is also used to balance two halves of a sentence. In this document, the four uses of the comma are called the listing comma , the joining comma , the … These sections must be independent and complete sentences, but closely linked in some way. 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