The Semicolon


The semicolon is used to connect two independent clauses without coordinating conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet) in a compound sentence. The semicolon may be used alone or with conjunctive adverbs (however, therefore, then, indeed, nevertheless, consequently, thus, moreover, furthermore, in fact, on the other hand, on the contrary). Conjunctive adverbs are used as transitional elements to link two independenct clauses together. The semicolon is placed BEFORE the conjunctive adverb, and a comma FOLLOWS the conjunctive adverb.


Rule 1: Use to link two independent clauses together:


A.     Each team member played well in the play-offs; the final score showed their efforts were not in vain.

B.     Dinner will be served in the Ballator Gallery: however, you muse have an invitation to attend.

C.     She loved chocolate peanut-butter ice-cream; in fact, she practically lived for it.


Rule 2: To clarify elements in a list when any individual element contains a comma:


A.     The math test scores are as follows: Bill, 87; Red, 92; Jennifer, 97; Shelia, 86; and Joshua, 78. (Note: a semicolon precedes Ďandí.)

B.     The cast