Use of semicolon in academic writing

Use a semicolon between items in a list or series if any of the items contain commas. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

Use parentheses to set off nonessential material, such as dates, clarifying information, or sources, from a sentence.


However, we could link them with a semicolon to show that they are connected: The semicolons here are important because they clarify groupings within the sentence. While basic punctuation skills are taught in the public school system at the elementary level, not much time is spent with our friend the semicolon.

Muhammed Aliarguably the greatest athlete of all time, claimed he would "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.

Writing Tips

Semicolons have other functions, too. Usually, commas are enough for short, simple lists like the following: I spend a fortune on tinned meat.

Use a semicolon between two independent clauses that are connected by conjunctive adverbs or transitional phrases. A lot of non-fiction texts that incorporate lists will use the semicolon in this manner. The first is that semicolons can only be used to link complete sentences, whereas the information following a colon can be as little as a single word.

Although they tried; they failed. But first, a caveat: Note that it is not correct to use a comma instead of the semicolon.

This rule means that a writer may use semicolons between two complete sentences that are joined by transition words like however, meanwhile, next, similarly, therefore, for example, in addition, in conclusion, etc.

How to Use a Semicolon

By inserting semicolons between each major break, the writer makes it easier for the reader to see where one major groups ends and where the next one begins. We have paid our dues; we expect all the privileges listed in the contract. Semicolon ; Use a semicolon when you link two independent clauses with no connecting words.

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It rained heavily during the afternoon; we managed to have our picnic anyway. However, if the listed items are more complex and already include commas, using semicolons to distinguish between them aids clarity: All of the above sentences are examples of how to properly use a semicolon to join the independent clauses using the signal words.

Avoid using a semicolon when a comma is needed:Academic Support; IT Support Center; Registrar; Career and Professional Development Center Semicolons are often misused in everyday writing, so here is a list of three simple rules which cover the vast majority of problems we see here in the IUP Writing Center.

Rule. Use a semicolon between closely related independent clauses which. Use a semicolon before such words and terms as namely, however, therefore, that is, i.e., for example, e.g., for instance, etc., when they introduce a complete sentence.

It is also preferable to use a comma after these words and terms. Open education resources for academic writing.

Using Semicolons

Review basic punctuation rules on our instructional pages covering topics such as apostrophes, colons, commas, dashes, hyphens, periods, and more. Use a semicolon in the following instances. Two independent clauses. Use a semicolon when separating two independent clauses that.

After reading the handout, you will be better able to decide when to use these forms of punctuation in your own writing. Semicolons The semicolon looks like a comma with a period above it, and this can be a good way to remember what it does.

The semi-colon and colon are often underused, yet their correct use can enhance the clarity of your writing. Beware of an over dependence on the comma and full stop, as this can make for ambiguous and repetitive sentence structure. The semicolon is a very useful punctuation mark, but also one that is often misused.

Check out our academic blog to find when using a semicolon is correct.

Use of semicolon in academic writing
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