I believed that most of you guys have seen semicolon, but you may not be very clear with the rules of using it. They’re somewhere in between the commas and periods: stronger than a comma but not quite as divisive as a period. However, they are not interchangeable. Here are the rules for using semicolons correctly.


1. Connect Related Independent Clauses

You can use a semicolon to join two closely related independent clauses. It can replace linking words like and, but, or, so, yet.


I ordered a cheeseburger for lunch; life’s too short for counting calories.


Money is the root of all evil; I don’t believe the reverse is necessarily true.


2. Use in a serial list

You can use semicolons to divide the items of a list if the items are long or contain internal punctuation.


Our plan included having a picnic at the park; making dinner together at home; and throwing a house party with a few friends.


My plan included taking him to a nice dinner; going to the park to look at the stars; and back home.


3. Use with conjunctive adverbs

When you have a conjunctive adverb linking two independent clauses, you should use a semicolon. Some common conjunctive adverbs include moreover, nevertheless, however, otherwise, therefore, then, etc.


The students had been advised against walking alone at night; however, Cathy decided walking wasn’t dangerous if it was early in the evening.


We haven’t spoken to each other for a long time; moreover, we weren’t exactly friends back then, either.