In formal writing, semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses which are related somehow. They work like a soft period, separating the thoughts but keeping the flow of the first sentence.
I’m looking for my book; where do you suppose I put it?
Money is the root of all evil; I don’t believe the reverse is necessarily true.
Martha has gone to the library; Andrew has gone to play soccer.
Journalism has changed over the last hundred years; possibly, this change is for the better.
In creative writing, you can use a semicolon to connect multiple ideas which are expressed in independent clauses. The effect is very poetic: be sure you don’t use this in formal writing.
The woman was heartbreakingly beautiful; she was dark and stormy; she was utterly dangerous.
Semicolons can also be used to separate short clauses in a list after a colon has been used. This is done to clarify the ideas for the reader so they don’t get confused; this practice is particularly useful if the clauses have commas or other punctuation in them.
Please do the following assignments for homework: read pages 15-17 and 20-33 in your math text; finish the outline for your Canada: A Short History essay; finish reading The Giver, but don’t start writing the essay yet.
I need the weather statistics for the following cities: London, England; London, Ontario; Paris, France; Paris, Ontario; Perth, Scotland; Perth, Ontario.
A semicolon should only be followed by a capital letter if the word is a proper noun or an acronym.
We can go to the museum to do some research; Mondays are pretty quiet there.
Let’s go to Europe; Paris is nice in the spring.
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