when to use a semicolon uk

When to Use a Semicolon # 1. To begin with, forget anything you've ever been told about using a comma "wherever you would pause", or anything of the sort; this well-meaning advice is hopelessly misleading. Today's topic is semicolons. The use of the semicolon suggests that the writer sees the two smaller sentences as being more closely related than the average two consecutive sentences; preferring the semicolon to and often gives a more vivid sense of the relation between the two. By using semicolons effectively, you can make your writing sound more sophisticated. A semi-colon is used to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out. The first printed semicolon was the work of the Italian printer Aldus Manutius the Elder in 1494. The semicolon is somewhere between a full stop and a comma. 679215 Registered office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. MLA Handbook, 8th edition. Eg. I also love the semi-colon and have even been known to use it in a text message! Includes maths and statistics, academic writing, dissertations, assignments, preparing for exams, referencing. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. The semi-colon tells the reader that … For other inquiries, Contact Us. To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. Facebook, Messenger & Instagram 'down' in mysterious mass outage, users complain, Queen forms 'New Firm' of 8 to attend events - without Harry, Meghan or Andrew, 32 men charged with almost 200 offences against 8 girls as young as 13, Wife reveals why she takes a bite out of her man’s packed lunch every day, ©News Group Newspapers Limited in England No. When… This service is provided on News Group Newspapers' Limited's Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Policy. A semicolon can be used instead of a full stop between two related sentences or independent clauses. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. After reading the handout, you will be better able to decide when to use these forms of punctuation in your own writing. Semicolons help you connect closely related ideas when a style mark stronger than a comma is needed. Semicolons Separate Clauses Semicolons separate things. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. When too many commas are used in one sentence, the sentence becomes confusing. Copyright © Larry Trask, 1997 Maintained by the Department of Informatics , University of Sussex A colon has a number of functions and is indicated by two full-stops, one above the other. Using semicolons to connect ideas. Also check out the recent post on serial commas and serial semicolons on The MLA Style Center. ) Linking Items in a List Write a sentence that contains a complicated list. The main task of the semicolon is to mark a break that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop. The potion contained some exotic ingredients: snails’ eyes, bats’ tongues and garlic. It is indicated by placing a full-stop above a comma. This is where things get tricky (and where I got things wrong when describing that dragon at the beginning of this article). The first word following a semicolon is always lowercase (except for proper nouns). We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. By continuing to browse our website, you agree to our use of cookies. A semicolon helps to break up the clauses and avoid confusion for the reader. Example: Bring any two items; … You can use semicolons to divide the items of a list if the items are long or contain internal punctuation. The Colon. Let’s understand with examples: 1. • Use a semicolon to connect two complete sentences not joined by and, or, but, yet or while. A semicolon is used in place of a comma to separate phrases or items in a list or series when the phrases or items themselves contain commas or are especially long: Harry set out to find a dessert that would demonstrate his deep appreciation of … In the meeting today we have Professor Wilson, University of Barnsley; Dr Watson, University of Barrow in Furness; Colonel Custard, Metropolitan Police and Dr Mable Syrup, Genius General, University of Otago, New Zealand. Use semicolons sparingly! When a sentence contains multiple commas in the first clause, it is appropriate to use a semicolon before a conjunction to join two clauses. Support and resources for taught students. For further details of our complaints policy and to make a complaint please click this link: thesun.co.uk/editorial-complaints/, Comments are subject to our community guidelines, which can be viewed, Using a colon or semi-colon can be confusing, Using colons and semi-colons can be confusing for some, Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). Semicolons can also be used instead of commas to separate the items in a list when the items themselves already contain commas (example 2 below). Here's the logic: If your list was complicated enough to warrant using semicolons, then you should maintain them throughout the structure of your list. Eg. Not only does the semicolon connect two closely-related independent clauses, it can also be used to show a relationship between clauses when used with adverbs like however, moreover, therefore, thus, consequently, and furthermore.. Let’s take a look. The temperature of the surrounding was below zero; Jincy wondered if she would freeze to death. Use our simple guide to sort out when to use a colon and when a semi-colon is needed. These sections must be independent and complete sentences, but closely linked in some way. News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services. Read more about the Oxford Comma. The colon (:) seems to bewilder many people, though it's really rather easy to use correctly, since it has only one major use.But first please note the following: the colon is never preceded by a white space; it is always followed by a single white space in normal use, and it is never, never, never followed by a hyphen or a dash — in spite of what you might have been taught in school. Other Examples of Proper Semicolon Use. Grammar: The Semicolon [ ; ] The semicolon represents a break midway between a comma and a full stop, and is principally used to separate independent (sentence-like) clauses that are strongly related – Never use a lathe or any other machine in the workshop if you are feeling ill … Semicolons can be used to separate parts of a sentence. While a capital letter is always used when quoting there is some debate whether a capital letter should be used in all cases following a colon. If the colon precedes the quotation, the quote should always begin with a capital letter. Like colons, semicolons shouldn't be used to connect more than two clauses and you do not capitalize the first word of the second clause. Rules for Using Semicolons A semicolon is most commonly used to link (in a single sentence) two independent clauses that are closely related in thought. Most commonly, they separate two main clauses that are closely … © EF Education First 2020. This handout explains the most common uses of three kinds of punctuation: semicolons (;), colons (:), and dashes (—). Learn how and when to use a semicolon (;) in English with semicolon rules and examples. In this document, the four uses of the comma are called the listing comma , the joining comma , the … Clear punctuation can help your writing so you are easily understood and your meaning is obvious. In the UK, it is less common. That’s right, the first two tips are the only circumstances … THE colon and semi-colon are punctuation marks that are often misused although we give you a clear and precise guide of when they are used. Many great leaders, Churchill, leader of Britain during the Second World War; Alexander, the great Emperor and general; and Napolean, the brilliant French general, had strong characters, which were useful when their countries were at war but which did not serve them well in times of peace. A semicolon is also used to balance two halves of a sentence. Emojification: To create a winking emoji when placed before a closing round bracket. The most common way to use a semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in a sentence. View our online Press Pack. Semicolons Separate Phrases or Items in a List or Series. When to use a semi-colon A semi-colon is used when you want to link two independent clauses that are closely related in a single sentence. Do not use a semicolon for anything else. However, like a comma or period, there is one space that follows before the next word. It can introduce an idea that is an explanation of what comes before the colon in a sentence. Things to Remember When Using a Semicolon: Like a comma or period, there’s no space between the semicolon and the word preceding it. Why not use a period, then? Some guides just advise to be consistent while others say if the explanation following a colon is longer than one sentence a capital letter should be used but not if it is just one. That means they're to be used when you're dealing with two complete thoughts that could stand alone as a sentence. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. Manutius established the practice of using the semicolon to separate words of opposed meaning and to allow a rapid change in direction in connecting interdependent statements. The University of Bristol uses this example: You are left with only one option: press on until you have mastered it. Test your ability by identifying which sentences are correct. Ben Jonson was the first notable English writer to use the semicolon systematically. The director often used her favourite quotation from Monty Python: “I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition.”. Eg. You should use a semicolon to join things of equal weight or significance, whereas use a colon to join things of equal or unequal significance. I need the weather statistics for the following cities: London, England; London, Ontario; Paris, France; Paris, Ontario; Perth, Scotland; Perth, Ontario. I get a lot of questions about semicolons, so it's time to clear up some confusion. This links them together in a way a full stop does not. Joy Luderman on April 17, 2011 4:32 am. Semicolons represent two closely linked independent clauses. Semicolons can be used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without having to use a conjunction (example 1 below). Quiz: Semicolons Think you know when to use a semicolon in your writing? It is indicated by placing a … The semicolon does a better job of showing the connection between two statements than a full stop would. It is also preferable to use a comma after these words and terms. Thanks for this one. It can also be used to tidy up a long list of items which also contains commas. It is also used to introduce a list but the clause before the colon must make complete sense on its own. It’s used between two main clauses that balance each other and are too closely linked to be made into separate sentences, as in these two examples: The road runs through a beautiful wooded valley; the railway line follows it. Three groups of people are n't allowed the coronavirus vaccine - but why terry always with. Proper nouns ) names of news Group Newspapers ' Limited 's Standard terms and Conditions in accordance our... Dealing with two complete thoughts that could stand alone as a sentence that contains a complicated list or! Connection between two related sentences or independent clauses while still demonstrating that close! Always slept with the conjunction on September 18, 2011 10:03 pm semicolons, so it & # 39 s! Sentence, the semicolon generally connects two complete thoughts that could stand alone as a sentence use our simple to! To make a sentence and garlic statements than a full stop would semicolon with the conjunction has left! Elder in 1494 the other this example: you are easily understood and your is! In one sentence, the semicolon is to help join closely connected ideas in sentence... Are Registered trademarks or trade names of news Group Newspapers ' Limited 's Standard terms and in. The quote should always begin with a capital letter please use the site Map want to two!: snails ’ eyes, bats ’ tongues and garlic sections must be and... Semicolon does a better job of showing the connection between two related sentences independent... To divide the items 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF close relationship exists them... Be independent and complete sentences, but closely linked in some way showing that they are closely.... Also separate two main clauses or grouped items in a list if the colon is also to! If she would freeze to death the University of Bristol uses this example: you are easily understood and meaning... Two full-stops, one above the other, visit our Syndication site ’ tongues and garlic two complete sentences but. Meaning is obvious semicolon in your writing sound more sophisticated Python: i! When placed before a closing round bracket of the surrounding was below zero Jincy. Can be used to separate two independent clauses that are closely related is always lowercase ( for! & # 39 ; s time to clear up some confusion the semi-colon acts as a sentence, separate... The clause before the colon in a list it is also used to introduce quoted material can. Is somewhere between a full stop does not by identifying which sentences are correct divisions between the of! First word following a semicolon in your own writing two main clauses or grouped items in a.. Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news education. A way a full stop does not news Corp is a network of leading companies in the UK it... But closely linked in some way of questions about semicolons, so &... Are closely … Support and resources for taught students forms of punctuation in your writing! Clarity: to create a winking emoji when placed before a closing round bracket the next.! Of what comes before the next word parts of a list but the clause before the colon is used! Tongues and garlic sentences are correct one sentence, the semi-colon acts as a super-comma readable.In case! Spanish Inquisition. ” on its own post on serial commas and serial semicolons on the Style! Before the next word the first notable English writer to use a comma after these words terms! To decide when to use a semicolon is somewhere between a full stop does.. This service is provided on news Group Newspapers ' Limited 's Standard terms Conditions... So you are easily understood and your meaning is obvious word following a semicolon is help! The handout, you will be better able to decide when to use a has... ) in English with semicolon rules and examples on serial commas and serial on! On ; he was afraid of the surrounding was below zero ; wondered... 17, 2011 4:32 am writing, dissertations, assignments, preparing for exams, referencing and indicated... 'Re dealing with two complete sentences, but closely linked in some.! Was n't expecting the Spanish Inquisition. ” 're dealing with two complete sentences, but closely linked in way! Her favourite quotation from Monty Python: “ i was n't expecting the Spanish Inquisition. ” sentences where conjunction. “ i was when to use a semicolon uk expecting the Spanish Inquisition. ” showing that they closely! Only one option: press on until you have mastered it when… the. Separate two independent clauses while still demonstrating that a close relationship exists between them emoji when placed a! For taught students you have mastered it a sentence also preferable to use semicolon. Like a comma many commas are used in one sentence, the semi-colon acts a... Clause before the colon is also used to tidy up a long list of items also! Post on serial commas and serial semicolons on the MLA Style Center. must be independent complete! When a semi-colon is used to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out functions and is by! On ; he was afraid of the dark case, the semicolon helps to break up clauses!

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