Punctuation : Semicolon

Semicolon is one of the trickiest signs to use for writers, which is why you will find its usage the least. However if properly used, the it can be one of the most useful and significant punctuation marks.

The Semicolon ( ; ) is basically a Punctuation mark that indicates a more pronounced pause than that indicated by a Comma but less important than that of a Full Stop. In essence, it divides two parts of a sentence that balances each other, and could stand independently too.

For instance, consider this sentence.

• He seemed in a foul mood. So, I fled the scene.

The above two sentences make perfect sense by themselves. However, we could use a Semicolon to join these conveniently.

• He seemed in a foul mood; so, I fled the scene.

The Semicolon can also be used to replace a Comma in a sentence in order to indicate a stronger division. However, it cannot be used if two thoughts are not connected in some way or the other. it also cannot be employed if one of the sentences is not a complete one in itself.

This sign represents a pause of greater importance than that shown by the Comma.

a. Semicolon is used to separate the clauses of Compound sentence, when they contain a comma.


• He was brave, large hearted man; we all respected him.

b. Semicolon is used to separate the series of loosely related clauses.


• Her court was pure; her life serene.

• God gave her peace; her land reposed.

• Today we love what tomorrow we hate; today we seek what tomorrow we shun.

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