I have grown fond of semicolons in recent years. . . . It is almost always a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period. The period tells you that that is that; if you didn't get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along. But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer.
Use a semicolon [ ; ]
The semicolon allows the writer to imply a relationship between nicely balanced ideas without actually stating that relationship. (Instead of saying because my grandmother is afraid she'll miss out on something, we have implied the because. Thus the reader is involved in the development of an ideaa clever, subliminal way of engaging the reader's attention.)
It is rare, but certainly possible, that you will want a semicolon to separate two independent clauses even when those two independent clauses are connected by a coordinating conjunction. This is especially true when the independent clauses are complex or lengthy and when there are commas within those independent clauses. You might consider breaking those two independent clauses into separate sentences when this happens.
Click on the movie icon to the left to watch a poor-man's animated exercise on uses of the colon; click on the movie icon to the right to watch a poor-man's animated exercise on uses of the semicolon.
If you have Microsoft Powerpoint (PC or Mac version) installed on your computer, you can download the Powerpoint presentation on the semicolon (to the right) and the colon (to the left). These files take a moment to download. Click on "View Show" in the Slide Show menu and then click on the screen to move from point to point.
Click HERE for help with Powerpoint.