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What are the rules for using semicolons? Find out when to use a semicolon in a sentence with examples, semicolon vs colon, and when to use a semicolon in a list.
1. Between two closely related and complete sentences with no conjunction
You use a semicolon if you have two closely related and complete sentences where there is no conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so); therefore, the second isn’t a dependent clause (a colon is used in this instance).
When to use a semicolon in a sentence with examples:
2. Before introductory words
A semicolon is used before introductory words (therefore, however, in fact, that is, for example - e.g., for instance - i.e.) when they introduce a complete sentence. Also, use a comma after the introductory word:
3. To separate a list of items
A semicolon is used in a sentence to separate a list of items where commas are already used.
4. When a conjunction joins two sentences and there's a comma in the first
A semicolon is used when a conjunction joins two sentences and there's a comma in the first sentence:
In conclusion, the following applies when using a semicolon in a sentence:
Use sparingly and don’t cram them into your writing; using semicolons can enrich your material when used effectively.