Linking Items in a List Write a sentence that contains a complicated list. Clarity: To make a sentence that’s already subdivided by commas more readable.In this case, the semi-colon acts as a super-comma. Use our simple guide to sort out when to use a colon and when a semi-colon is needed. It is also used to introduce a list but the clause before the colon must make complete sense on its own. 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. 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. 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. Using semicolons to connect ideas. Read more about the Oxford Comma. 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. In these cases, the semicolon helps readers keep track of the divisions between the items. I also love the semi-colon and have even been known to use it in a text message! I get a lot of questions about semicolons, so it's time to clear up some confusion. 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. A semi-colon is used to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out. A semicolon is used to separate two independent clauses while still demonstrating that a close relationship exists between them. The semicolon is somewhere between a full stop and a comma. 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). 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. That means they're to be used when you're dealing with two complete thoughts that could stand alone as a sentence. Emojification: To create a winking emoji when placed before a closing round bracket. The director often used her favourite quotation from Monty Python: “I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.”. When… Why not use a period, then? • Use a semicolon to connect two complete sentences not joined by and, or, but, yet or while. To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. 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). 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. This handout explains the most common uses of three kinds of punctuation: semicolons (;), colons (:), and dashes (—). Semicolons Separate Clauses Semicolons separate things. 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. Three groups of people aren't allowed the coronavirus vaccine - but why? After reading the handout, you will be better able to decide when to use these forms of punctuation in your own writing. Do not use a semicolon for anything else. Semicolons represent two closely linked independent clauses. This links them together in a way a full stop does not. When too many commas are used in one sentence, the sentence becomes confusing. I also love the semicolon, but was taught, in the British ‘old-school’ style, that neither semicolon nor comma should precede a positive conjunction. For other inquiries, Contact Us. Test your ability by identifying which sentences are correct. © EF Education First 2020. Other Examples of Proper Semicolon Use. Each item in the sentence … Eg. History. 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 … It can also be used to tidy up a long list of items which also contains commas. A semi-colon is used when you want to link two independent clauses that are closely related in a single sentence. The potion contained some exotic ingredients: snails’ eyes, bats’ tongues and garlic. In the UK, it is less common. The University of Bristol uses this example: You are left with only one option: press on until you have mastered it. Clear punctuation can help your writing so you are easily understood and your meaning is obvious. Joy Luderman on April 17, 2011 4:32 am. 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. 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. 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 Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. The Colon. The semi-colon tells the reader that … A semicolon is also used to balance two halves of a sentence. 679215 Registered office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. However, like a comma or period, there is one space that follows before the next word. Ben Jonson was the first notable English writer to use the semicolon systematically. Learn how and when to use a semicolon (;) in English with semicolon rules and examples. If the colon precedes the quotation, the quote should always begin with a capital letter. 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. Semicolons Separate Phrases or Items in a List or Series. All rights reserved. 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. Eg. You can use semicolons to divide the items of a list if the items are long or contain internal punctuation. 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. By using semicolons effectively, you can make your writing sound more sophisticated. News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. Mimi Angela on September 18, 2011 10:03 pm. The temperature of the surrounding was below zero; Jincy wondered if she would freeze to death. When a sentence contains multiple commas in the first clause, it is appropriate to use a semicolon before a conjunction to join two clauses. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. 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. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. Copyright © Larry Trask, 1997 Maintained by the Department of Informatics , University of Sussex 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. In this document, the four uses of the comma are called the listing comma , the joining comma , the … That’s right, the first two tips are the only circumstances … The first word following a semicolon is always lowercase (except for proper nouns). 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. This is where things get tricky (and where I got things wrong when describing that dragon at the beginning of this article). It is indicated by placing a … Eg. They can also separate two main clauses or grouped items in a list. 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). Semicolons help you connect closely related ideas when a style mark stronger than a comma is needed. A colon has a number of functions and is indicated by two full-stops, one above the other. It can introduce an idea that is an explanation of what comes before the colon in a sentence. When to Use a Semicolon # 1. Semicolons can be used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a conjunction (example 1 below). Includes maths and statistics, academic writing, dissertations, assignments, preparing for exams, referencing. It is indicated by placing a full-stop above a comma. The colon is also used to introduce quoted material. Support and resources for taught students. A semicolon can be used instead of a full stop between two related sentences or independent clauses. These sections must be independent and complete sentences, but closely linked in some way. Terry always slept with the light on; he was afraid of the dark. Most commonly, they separate two main clauses that are closely … 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). Things to Remember When Using a Semicolon: Like a comma or period, there’s no space between the semicolon and the word preceding it. The semicolon is somewhere between a full stop and a comma. Today's topic is semicolons. I need the weather statistics for the following cities: London, England; London, Ontario; Paris, France; Paris, Ontario; Perth, Scotland; Perth, Ontario. Semicolons can be used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a conjunction (example 1 below). The semicolon does a better job of showing the connection between two statements than a full stop would. It is also preferable to use a comma after these words and terms. 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. View our online Press Pack. Semicolons can be used to separate parts of a sentence. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. By continuing to browse our website, you agree to our use of cookies. MLA Handbook, 8th edition. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material, visit our Syndication site. Quiz: Semicolons Think you know when to use a semicolon in your writing? 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 … 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. Use semicolons sparingly! The semicolon generally connects two complete sentences, showing that they are closely related. 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. Also check out the recent post on serial commas and serial semicolons on The MLA Style Center. ) 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. Example: Bring any two items; … Eg. Let’s understand with examples: 1. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. When using semicolons as separators, you should use the semicolon with the conjunction. A semicolon helps to break up the clauses and avoid confusion for the reader. The first printed semicolon was the work of the Italian printer Aldus Manutius the Elder in 1494. “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… This service is provided on News Group Newspapers' Limited's Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Policy. Thanks for this one. A network of leading companies in the UK, it is also to!, it is indicated by placing a … the semicolon does a better job of showing the connection two. Sun, please use the site Map a better job of showing the connection between two related sentences or clauses. This example: you are left with only one option: press on until you mastered! Network of leading companies in the UK, it is also used to quoted... 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