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Language CentreTranslation and correctionLanguage Centre Style GuidePunctuationSemicolon


puntkomma, point-virgule, Strichpunkt

The semicolon only has one major use. It is used to join two complete sentences into a single written sentence when all of the following conditions are met:

1. The two sentences are felt to be too closely related to be separated by a full stop

2. There is no connecting word which would require a comma, such as and or but

3. The special conditions requiring a colon are absent

There is one special circumstance in which a semicolon may be used to separate sequences which are not complete sentences. This occurs when a sentence has become so long and so full of commas that the reader can hardly be expected to follow it without some special marking. In this case, we sometimes find semicolons used instead of commas.

Last modified:15 September 2017 9.00 p.m.