skip to page contentskip to navigation menuWriting for University Courses - Punctuation
Advice Practice
Punctuation Menu | Main Menu | Help | Contents List | Definitions | Print Guide

Starter Level menu


.
?
!
,
:
" '

;
'
( )
-
/

What effect does incorrect punctuation have?

Starter Level Checklist


Show Development Level menu



Starter Level Advice

; Semicolon

Like full stops and commas, semicolons show pauses. They are mostly used in long sentences, and most of the advice on their use is in the Development Level.

However, here is a basic use of the semicolon.

In a list
In a list of items you can either :
  • use a comma between each item and a linking word between the last two items (e.g. and, or)
  • put a colon (:) before the list starts and a semicolon (;) between each item. You do not have a linking word between the last two items.
Example
Both the following are correct.

In the 1960s most university students: were aged 18-21; were on full-time courses; went to a university away from their home town; had a grant on which they survived during term time.

In the 1960s most university students were aged 18-21, were on full-time courses, went to a university away from their home town, and had a grant on which they survived during term time.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004