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Author: Dan Reade

    Introduce semicolons, why they are used, and how they are different from periods. 


    Explain how to use semicolons with conjunctive adverbs (e.g. however, therefore, unfortunately, etc.)


This packet should help a learner seeking to understand how to use correct punctuation and who is confused about how to use semicolons. It will explain standard rules for semicolons and why they are used. 

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The Use of Semicolons

Semicolons are used in English for two primary reasons: to connect two sentences that are related in content, and to clarify lists where using only commas would be confusing. The video below explains both uses, with examples.

Source: Dan Reade

Semicolons and conjunctive adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs are words like "however," "therefore," and "moreover." They are regularly used to combine two complete sentences. When using conjunctive adverbs to combine complete sentences, writers will use semicolons and commas as well. The video below gives an explanation and example of how to use semicolons in this instance.

Source: Dan Reade


While semicolons can often seem confusing, their use is actually quite easy. Semicolons will be used primarily in these two ways:

  1. To combine two complete sentences, usually with the use of a conjunctive adverb
  2. To clarify the meanings of lists

With this information, you should be able to use semicolons effectively, making them a great part of your writer's toolkit.

Source: Dan Reade