Punctuation: Using the Semi-colon

Using the semi-colon is similar to using a period.

RULE 1: That is it is almost always used between two independent clauses as long as they are on the same topic and closely related.

Example: You could use a semi-colon here: Thomas was intelligent; he had the top honours in his school.

Because the two sentences are both independent clauses and they are closely related, you can use a semi-colon.

Example 2: You can NOT use a semi-colon here:

I like pizza; cats are my favourite.  The two ideas are not closely related. You should use a period instead.

RULE 2: Almost always, (unless the word is used as an insertion) put a semicolon in front of (and a comma after) these words:

;  consequently,       ; besides,          ; furthermore,

;  however,             ; for example,   ; in fact,

;  therefore, ; nevertheless,   ; in fact,

; moreover,

 RULE 3: You use a semicolon, instead of a comma, when there are commas already in the sentence.

Terry and Sheila, outstanding in their field, began the long, careful, study of the data; also, knowing they would have to document their findings.

  1. Salamanders like flying bugs watching them catch their lunch can be fascinating
  2. The bookstore is having a sale some of the items are advertised in the paper and some aren’t
  3. We hiked for two hours through Japan consequently we were glad to stop and rest
  4.  Create your own sentence here.

For more help with the semi-colon see these resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semicolon

or  http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/writersref6e/lmcontent/ch05/helpsheets.asp?edition=6e

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