One of the most misunderstood punctuation marks in in the English Language – the Semi-Colon. So, whats the point of it and how should it be used ?

Why

What’s the point of a semicolon?

The most common way to use a semicolon is to connect two independent clauses. For example :

The ice cream van man drove by my house today. He had big hairy knuckles

The two statements are separated by a full-stop. If read aloud, it would go something like this :

The ice cream van man drove by my house today. {take a breath} He had big hairy knuckles.

With a semicolon, however, it would sound like this :

The ice cream van man drove by my house today; he had big hairy knuckles

Basically what we did was eliminate the pause between the two statements without using words such as and, but, nor, or yet.

How

How do I use a semicolon?

If you have two independent clauses, that is 2 statements that could stand alone as their own sentences it’s ok to use a semicolon. For example :

My aunt also had hairy knuckles ; she loved to wash and comb them
This is an independent clause, meaning it could stand alone as a complete sentence. This is also an independent clause; it could exist without being attached to its predecessor.
When

When should I use a semicolon?

If you have two independent clauses, that is 2 statements that could stand alone as their own sentences it’s ok to use a semicolon. For example :

I gnaw on old car tires; it strengthens my jaw so I’ll be better conditioned for bear combat.

Use a semicolon when you want to form a bond between two statements, typically when they are related to or contrast with one another.

In the example above, the relationship between gnawing on tires and combatting bears is strengthened by using a semicolon.

Super Comma

Use a semicolon as a super-comma.

While searching for a good place to get a unicorn burger I travelled to Seattle; Washington; Tokyo; Japan and London

Use a semicolon if you need to make a list of items that are separated with a comma. This often occurs when listing locations, names, dates, and descriptions.

My favourite books include “Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas” by Tom Robbins, a tale of a psychic; “Catflexing” by Stephanie Jackson, a catlovers Guide to Weight Training; “Knitting With Dog” Hair by Kendall Crolius, a tale of a better sweater and “Be Bold With Bananas” by the Banana Control Board, a trippy look at the banana.
The semicolon enables you to list and describe all four books in the same sentence.