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Semi-colons are used to separate important and equal parts of a sentence. There are a few basic rules for using semi-colons.

DO use a semi-colon to:
  • separate independent clauses that are not connected by a coordinating conjunction like andbutornorforso, or yet Love is in the air; the flowers are in bloom.
  • separate the items in a list, if that list contains commas We visited Dallas, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Naples, Florida.
  • separate independent clauses connected by a transitional expression like anywaybesidesfor example, and in other words (See below for a longer list) She couldn't meet him at seven; after all, she had a tennis lesson then.
Do NOT use a semi-colon to:
  • introduce a list The recipe calls for these ingredients; flour, eggs, milk, and butter.
  • separate a subordinate clause from the rest of the sentence Without studying; you can't expect to pass the test.
  • separate an appositive (a phrase that describes a noun) from the noun it describes His favorite pastime was bocce; a game played with heavy stone balls.
Transitional words: alsoanywaybesidesconsequentlyconverselyfinallyfurthermorehencehoweverindeedinsteadmeanwhilemoreoverneverthelessnextotherwisestillthenthereforethus Transitional phrases: after allas a matter of factas a resultat any ratefor examplefor instancein additionin conclusionin factin other wordson the contraryon the other hand