The Proper Use of Semicolons


The Proper Use of Semicolons
Dr. Brian Campbell, 2016

A semicolon is used to link two independent clauses that are closely related in meaning.  Independent clauses (on either side of the semicolon) must "stand alone," and make sense independently.  Semicolons are also used when listing items following a colon.  See: APA 4.04 (pp. 89-90).  Also: Semicolons  Also: Semicolons


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English Grammar Basics: How to Use a Semicolon
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LU:  Combining Sentences

In which two sentences is a semicolon properly used? 

  1. The counselor nodded his approval to the client; smiling and nodding his head.
  2. Although the counselor wanted to show empathy; she couldn't bring herself to feel sorry for the murderer.
  3. The counselor tried to show: compassion; a sense of humor; a Christ-like attitude; and, love.
  4. The counselor has a good sense of humor; this helped "break the ice" in the counseling session.


(Answer: #3 and #4)