Crucial Rules for Semicolons

Semicolon is indicating audible pause that is slightly longer that comma. In fact, semicolons have other functions. Check these semicolon and colon rules.

Rules for Semicolons

Rule 1

Semicolon punctuation can replace the period if you want to narrow the gap between linked sentences. For example:

  • Call me tomorrow; you need to give me your answer then.
  • You have paid their dues; you will expect all privileges that are listed in contract.

Rule 2

You need to avoid using a semicolon, especially when the dependent clause comes before the independent clause. For example:

  • Incorrect: Although you tried; you failed.
  • Correct: Although you tried, you failed.

Rule 3

rules for semicolonsYou will use a semicolon before such terms and words as however, that is, however, namely, for example, for instance, etc., when you introduce a complete sentence. It is better to use a comma after you used these words. For example:

Bring any three things; however, tents and sleeping bags are in short supply.

Rule 4 on Where to Use Semicolon

You will use a semicolon in separating units of series when one or more units contain commas. Here is a good example.

  • Incorrect: The meeting has individuals who come from Idaho, Moscow, California, Philippines, Alamo and other countries as well.
  • Correct: The meeting has individuals who come from Moscow, California; Philippines; Alamo; and other countries as well.

Rule 5

The semicolon can be used between the independent clauses joined with a connector like but, or, and, nor, etc., when one or more commas will appear in the first clause. For example:

If I will be finished here, I will be glad to help you; and that is a promise that I will keep.

Rule 6

You should not capitalize ordinary words after you use a semicolon. For example:

  • Incorrect: You are there; I am over here.
  • Correct: You are there, I am over here.

Semicolons are commonly used in linking two independent clauses having close connection. For example:

Some individuals write using pen or pencil; others write using word processor.

Rule 7

where to use semicolonUse semicolon between two independent clauses being connected by transitional phrases or conjunctive adverbs. For example:

However but, you choose to write, you are allowed in making your own decisions; as a result, you swear by your writing methods.

Rule 8

Use the semicolon between the items in series or list if any items containing commas. For example:

There are two ways on how to write: with a pencil or pen, which is easily accessible and inexpensive; or by using printer and computer, which is expensive but it is neat and quick.

rules for semicolons

Rule 9

sentences with semicolonsUse semicolon between the independent clauses that is joined by coordinating conjunction when clauses are punctuated with the comma or if clauses are too lengthy. For example:

Some individuals write with word processor, computer or typewriter; but other, for some reasons, they choose to write using pencil or pen.

Rule 10

Avoid using comma if it is needed to use semicolon: You should know where to use semicolon and to learn more, here is an example.

  • Incorrect: The dog is white, also, it is young.
  • Correct: The dog is white; also, it is young.

You need to know where to write sentences with semicolons to impress your professor or readers. Make sure to know about the rules in semicolons. Make sure you are using colon properly as well.

Learn about the rules for semicolons today!