Do semicolons confuse you?
I hope the answer is yes, because they really confuse me and I was hoping I’m not the only one. So, finally, after getting tired of checking every time I used a semicolon, I decided to make a list of the rules once and for all.
Here are the rules:
Rule 1) A semicolon can replace a period if you want to reduce the gap between two closely related sentences.
I have an exam tomorrow; I cannot stay up late.
Rule 2) Use a semicolon before words such as namely, therefore, however, for example, for instance, etc., when they introduce a complete sentence.
You can donate anything; however, there is a shortage of packed food.
Rule 3) Use a semicolon to separate units of a series when one or more of the units contain commas.
The meeting involved Tom Mathews, director; Helen D’souza, associate director; Rahman Ahmed, creative head; and others.
Rule 4) A semicolon may be used between independent clauses joined by connectors like and, but, or, nor, etc., when one or more commas appear in the first clause.
When I finish my work, and I will soon, I’ll be happy to come with you; and that is a promise.
Rule 5) Do not capitalize words after a semicolon.
Incorrect: I am here; You are there.
Correct: I am here; you are there.
Now that you know the rules, use the semicolon freely but wisely!