A semicolon (;) is a punctuation mark that is used to separate and connect independent clauses or when something stronger than a comma is needed.
Most often, semicolons are used to connect two independent clauses instead of using a comma + conjunction. Writers use semicolons instead of conjunctions for stylistic effect and when the two sentences being joined are short and closely related.
Joan likes eggs; Jennifer does not.
The cat slept through the storm; the dog cowered under the bed.
Semicolons are also used in a sentence when something stronger than a comma is needed. Three common scenarios when a semicolon would be used are these:
1. When items in a series have been separated with commas, but the sentence needs an additional comma after the series OR to separate items in a series when any of the items already have commas.
2. Before a conjunctive adverb in a sentence (i.e. however, therefore).
3. To separate lines in an address when you are writing it as a sentence.
Examples of Semicolon Use in Sentences
1. If you bring your sunglasses, sunscreen, and a towel; we can go to the beach.
2. The groups of siblings who will be coming to camp include John and Anne; Jeff, Lisa, and Tommy; and Mark and Jonas.
3. I have lived in Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; and Tallahassee, FL.
4. The address for the letter is PO Box 37; Martin, NY 30065.
5. Marie made a 100 on the quiz; Lois made a 95.
6. It was raining; the game was cancelled.
7. I like bacon, eggs, and cheese; but not all together on a sandwich.
8. I always try to pack light for vacation; however, I always seem to need an extra bag for all of my shoes and books.