Using Semicolons

semicolonThe general rule with semicolons: before and after a semicolon, there needs to be independent clauses, or phrases which could be complete sentences.

When to Use a Semicolon:

1. To combine two sentences which have no conjunction (but, yet….).


Jill tossed her hair back in a flurry; the wind persisted in scrambling the consistency of her hairdo.

2. To ease the reading of a sentence which uses an introductory phrase.


Bears are not creatures which express their anger easily against humans; for example, they only attack humans when they are on the brink of starvation.

3. To separate items in a series.


The seminar on business forensics will consist of volunteers from Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; and Eugene, Oregon.


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