Uncategorized Writing & Blogging

How to Use Semicolons

My favorite type of punctuation (is it weird to have a favorite type of punctuation?) is the semicolon. Sadly, I see many people using it incorrectly. So I’m here to help! Reminder – I’m an English teacher trained in grammar. I know my stuff.

how to use semicolons

1. Use a semicolon in a list

When you are writing a list, but need to include additional information for the items, you use a semicolon in between them. For example:

I emailed Ashley, who blogs at The Grist Blog; Jenn, who blogs at Hello Rigby; and Sierra, who blogs at Sierra’s View.


When you go grocery shopping, make sure you get tomato sauce, which is for the pizza; apples, which are for apple pie; and Gatorade.

See how that last example didn’t have multiple parts to it? That happens sometimes. But you need a semicolon to separate the appositive (that’s the fancy word for the word or phrase that gives more information about something but isn’t necessary to the sentence) from the rest of the list.

2. Use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses.

These could also stand alone as separate sentences. For example:

I’m really tired I need some coffee – That’s a run-on. Your first option is: “I’m really tired. I need some coffee.” Your semicolon option is: “I’m really tired; I need some coffee.”

You do not put semicolons to connect every sentence. They need to be related.

Any questions? Feel free to send em to me!

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  • Reply Leslie Lukens Martin

    LOVE grammar posts! I just wish we could force the whole world to read (and absorb) things like this!

    July 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply Cece

    I just pinned all three of your grammar queen posts!! They are very helpful.

    July 24, 2014 at 7:03 pm
  • Reply Marla Rogers

    I'm so in love with these posts haha. Semicolons are my favorite punctuation marks hehe.

    August 6, 2014 at 3:30 am
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