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The Semicolon (#2), by Dennis Oliver

The Semicolon (#2)

The semicolon ( ; ) is an important punctuation mark
in English and has several uses. One is in connecting
sentences with closely related ideas. Another use is in
connecting items in lists (series).

Use a semicolon to connect items in lists if the items
in the lists contain commas.


She's lived in San Antonio, Dallas, and Irving,
Texas; Palms, West Los Angeles, and Brentwood,
California; Arch Cape and Portland, Oregon; and
Phoenix, Arizona.

We invited Bob's girlfriend, Annie; Judy, Ahmed,
and Simón; Simón's cousins, Hugo and Pilar; our
next-door neighbor,Tranh, and her husband; and
three or four other people.

For the class you'll need two diskettes, either
formatted or unformatted; paper, both for the
printer and for your class notes; and, of course,
the textbook.


Special Notes:


Semicolons are very helpful, in sentences
such as the ones above, in making the lists
less confusing. Without the semicolons,
the items in the list would be difficult to
understand; using commas alone would not
separate the items clearly:

We invited Bob's girlfriend, Annie, Judy,
Ahmed, and Simón, Simón's cousins, Hugo
and Pilar, our next-door neighbor,Tranh,
and her husband, and three or four other
people. (This sentence is confusing because
the items in the list are not clearly separated.)

2.   Periods (full stops) cannot be used instead
of semicolons in sentences like those above.

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