Semicolons

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Semicolons

  1. Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses when they are not joined by a coordinating conjunction.

    Jack held the ball for a moment; then he passed it to Gus.

    He spent all his money on PacMan; consequently, he went broke.

    The cat's name was Purry; the dog's name was Mason.

  2. Use a semicolon to separate coordinate elements which are joined by a coordinating conjunction but which are internally punctuated.

    Johnny Cash's tour included concert appearances in Austin, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Acme, Washington.

    The dates for each appearance are as follows: January 1, 1987; March 6, 1988; September 8, 1988; and February 4, 1991.

  3. Use a semicolon to punctuate independent clauses which are joined by a coordinating conjunction but which are heavily punctuated with commas.

    I invited Ethel, Sylvia, Maura, and Diane to the party; but Caliban, Hal, Malvolio, and Feste also dropped in.

    For Christmas I wanted a briefcase, a color TV, a Persian rug, and a parachute; and my brother wanted a sailboat, a silk tie, an original Leonardo, and a Bic lighter.