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The semicolon

The semicolon

It took me a long time to learn the correct ways you can use a semicolon in writing (well, in fact, the colon also took me some time). They might take a little while to learn, but once you’re confident using them they can give your writing that extra edge. They allow you more flexibility with your writing.

The primary use of a semicolon in writing is to indicate or show a relationship between two independent clauses. The semicolon goes in between the two clauses, and tells the reader that what is said in each clause is related.

I used to work late regularly; my job was quite a hard one.

Using a semicolon in this way implies that there is a relationship between what is said in each clause, rather than explicitly saying that there is.

When you want to hammer home to the reader that there’s a relationship between the two clauses, use a conjunction instead of the semicolon:

I used to work late regularly because my job was quite a hard one.