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Semicolon Rules

Join two short sentences that are closely related in meaning

  • Two short sentences sound choppy.
    • He can’t. I can.
  • A semicolon pulls them together.
    • He can’t; I can.

Join two short sentences with a conjunctive adverb: however, moreover, nevertheless, consequently, furthermore, incidentally, therefore, unfortunately, on the other hand, and many more

  • He can’t; however, I can.
  • He likes women; moreover, he likes powerful, intelligent women.
  • George hates exercise; nevertheless, he ran five miles to raise money for cancer research.
  • Fred is allergic to dogs; incidentally, he owns five dogs.
  • Pigs can swim; furthermore, they can survive very well in the wild.
  • I showed him how stupid he was; therefore, he hated me.
  • She is single, rich, and beautiful; unfortunately, she hates my guts.
  • The Kansas City Royals have youth and energy; on the other hand, the Saint Louis Cardinals have age and experience.

Between items in a series when the items contain commas

  • He lived in Topeka, Kansas; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Austin, Texas.
  • The guest speakers will be Richard Dawkins, PhD; Marcus Welby, MD; and Albert Gore, Jr.

Semicolon Quiz

Click the answer which best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence.

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