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Punctuation and Capitalization

Learn more about English rules of capitalization and punctuation to help you become a more confident writer.

Semicolons (video explanation)

From the Commas, Semicolons, and Colons video; the video will start automatically in browsers where autoplay of audio is enabled. If the video doesn't immediately begin, click the pause button and then click play.

Semicolon (text explanation)

Use a semicolon to:

  • join two independent clauses without a conjunction (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 156). For example, "The capital city of British Columbia is Victoria; the capital city of Alberta is Edmonton."
  • join two independent clauses when the second clause begins with a conjunctive adverb (APA, 2020, p. 156; e.g., however, therefore, moreover, furthermore, thus, meanwhile, nonetheless, otherwise) or a transition (e.g., in fact, for example, that is, for instance, in addition, in other words, on the other hand, even so). For example: the capital city of British Columbia is Victoria; however, some people think it should be Vancouver.
  • join elements of a series when individual items of the series already include commas (APA, 2020, p. 156) e.g., major cities in Canada include: Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; and Toronto, Ontario.

For more information regarding semicolons, please refer to GCF Learn Free's page on semicolons.

Reference

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Practice with commas and semicolons