The semicolon has two similar major uses:
[It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.]
[I wanted to make my speech short; however, there was so much to cover.]
Note: In these uses, the semicolon is stronger than a comma but less final than a full stop.
There is a minor use of the semicolon:
To separate items in a list when one or more of those items contains a comma
[The speakers included: Tony Blair, the Prime Minister; Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Education & Skills.]
Other uses of semicolon are:
1. Use a semicolon between independent clauses not joined by and, but, nor, for, yet, and so. Example: Read what you’ve written; don’t just pass it on.
2. Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by such words as for example, besides, nevertheless, etc. Example: I think he’s right; however, it’s difficult to know.
3. Use a semicolon between items in a series if the items contain commas.
Example: Winners in the competition were Bill, first place; Amy, second place; and Jeff, third place.
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