Pearson Adult Learning Centre Home
Pearson Adult Learning Centre
  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (March 28, 2006)

Using the Semicolon Well




The semicolon is used between independent clauses not joined by a coordinating conjunction but too closely related to be separated by a period.

You may, however, use commas if clauses are short and parallel: E.g.: I'll talk, you listen.

Semicolons are not a substitute for the colon. Be aware of and avoid confusing the two: a colon marks a list or explanation; a semi-colon announces a related, full sentence will follow.

Be sure to review your textbooks and English manuals for more information; nevertheless, make sure you need to use a particular punctuation mark and aren't just using it as a practice.

Avoid "semicolonitis," a rare condition marked by frequent and inappropriate use of the semi-colon. Semicolonitis is cured through a thorough review of punctuation rules and a complete ban on semicolons for at least two assignments!


See our most recent tips.

Tips from November 2001 to April 2002

Tips from September 2000 to October 2001.

Tips from January to August 2000
Tips from January to December 1999


Visit our Contact Us page to send email to the centre.
Copyright 1997 to 2009 Pearson Adult Learning Centre, New Westminster School District 40
Web Site Created by The Educated Web
Last modified: July 31, 2009