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Semicolons can be used to SEPARATE items in a list, especially where commas alone might lead to confusion.


The companies we usually deal with are: Smith, Jones, Weston and partners; Holmes, Watson and Baker; Pendlebury Systems; Thompsons; Carter and Burridge; and Moorlocks.


Semicolons can also be used to GROUP items in a list.  This may be for purposes of clarity or merely to make the list more manageable.


You will need to buy: cornflakes, bread, butter and milk; washing powder, polish, scourers and a dishcloth; writing paper, envelopes and stamps.


Notice how each subsection of the list can be treated as a list in itself - with the format:


item, item, item and item.


Semicolons can also be used to JOIN TOGETHER two statements which are closely related.  This may signify a cause and effect relationship or it may be that each part says the same thing in a slightly different way.


Brian stood up suddenly; he thought he heard a noise.

Sharon, of course, turned up late; she is never on time these days.

Lynn is a capable girl; she passed her driving-test first time.




Introduction - Capital letters - Full stops - Question Marks - Exclamation marks - Abbreviations - Contractions - Commas - Speech marks (Quotation marks - Inverted comas) - Possessive apostrophes - Colons - Semi-colons - Brackets - Hyphens - Dashes - Obliques (slashes)