The Semi-colon 

Semi-colons are used to form a compound sentence by linking two independent clauses. The two clauses must have a logical relation to one another. The semi-colon is often followed by an conjunctive adverb:

  • The flood was devastating; many people were forced to abandon their homes.
  • Hemingway was known for his short, tight sentences; Faulkner was admired for his vivid description.
  • The students prepared for the exam for weeks; however, only half of the class passed.

Semi-colons are also used to separate items in a potentially confusing list that already contains several commas. Adding semi-colons makes the list easier to read and less confusing.

  • Students in the competition came from Vancouver, British Columbia; Toronto, Ontario; Fredericton, New Brunswick; and Brandon, Manitoba.
  • Some of the award winners included Matthew McConaughy, best actor; Cate Blanchet, best actress; Alphonso Cuaron, best director; and Jared Leto, best supporting actor.

The Colon 

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