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How to Use a Semicolon

How to Use a Semicolon teaches you the right way to use punctuation that many native and non-native English speakers really don’t understand. How to Use a Semicolon is related to How to Use a Colon, providing you with the knowledge to now use both confidently.


The main job of a semicolon is to join two independent parts (clauses) that are related into one sentence. Independent clauses can be theirown sentence by themselves, but the semicolon can make one sentence.


  • The first speech was long; the second was even longer.


Notice that you do not capitalize after the semicolon.


You can think of a semicolon like a conjunction(and, but, or) – Jack is funny, and Susie loves jokes.

 

Now comes the really important information. While colons must be used in some cases, younever really need to use a semicolon. You can just make 2 sentences or use a conjunction. In our example above, I could have written

  • The first speech was long, and the second was even longer.


So why did I write about it? I have had LOTS of students ask me about it; they are very curious! (See my semi-colon there? It joins two parts that are related.)


I don't use semicolons too often. The semicolon really just adds a little bit more power than a comma. Also, if you use it right, it can make you look like you know English well. Whether or not you use it is up to you!

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