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*Asterisk = examples of errors or poor constructions*.

Student Learning: Grammar

Using Colons and Semi-colons - Lesson two


  1. 2.1 For separating two independent clauses:

    Semi-colons are used between two separate independent sentences that are closely related, effectively connecting them and creating a closer relationship than if you simply used 'and' in between them. (See Commas - opens in new tab). Some joining words can be used in conjunction with a semi-colon: however, therefore, consequently... (these are called 'conjunctive adverbs').

The All Black has admitted having a drinking problem; this is the first step to recovery.

I knew the new policy would cause problems; unpopular austerity measures are now necessary to save the company.

I'm not superstitious; however, I never won a race wearing those socks.

  1. 2.2 For separating complex items in a list-like sentence:

    Sometimes a semi-colon may be used for indicating related concepts in a sentence identifying relevant additional information.
    Look at the following example:

The following may be symptoms of pavor nocturnus: confusion when first awakening, especially for young children; disorientation, increasingly accompanied by a sense of panic; outbursts of anger often directed at their parents or partners (if they are adults) lasting until they become cognisant of their surroundings.