1. To connect two related sentences. Consider, as example: “I wanted to go home; I had not been feeling well.”
2. Semicolons can team up with a transition, such as a conjunctive adverb, to connect two sentences close in meaning. Consider, as example: “I wanted to go home; however, I was so busy I could not.”
3. Semicolons can be used when you have complicated, confusing lists of items. Consider, as example: “During my travels I visited davenport, Iowa; Moline, Illinois; and Madison, Wisconsin.”
Some rules to follow:
· The main clauses that are being connected should be close in meaning.
· Don’t capitalize the word following the semicolon unless it is a proper noun.
· Don’t over use them. To be honest, I do.
· Use a semicolon between items in a list or series if any of the items contain commas.
· Never use a comma splice. That is, when you have a conjunctive adverb (i.e. “however”, you should use the semicolon. Look:
“I am old, however, I feel young.” This is the mistake of a comma splice (2). The correct sentence should read:
“I am old; however, I feel young.” These are independent clauses, and a semicolon is needed, not a comma.
You can use them properly; however, use them carefully…
1. http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/semicolon.htm, accessed January 16, 2013
2. http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Semicolons.html, accessed January 16. 2013