How to Use Semicolons Correctly in Your Writing

Updated Aug 17, 2021

Semicolons: A Simple Guide on How to Use Semicolons Properly

By Matthew

Semicolons are a punctuation mark that connects two independent clauses. You can use it to show a pause between two phrases, or to combine two sentences that are related.

One way to use a semicolon is to combine two sentences that are related.

I like to drink coffee; it wakes me up and helps me focus on my work.

Another way to use a semicolon is to show a pause between two independent clauses.

I went to the mall yesterday; I bought some shoes and a new shirt.

You can also use a set of semicolons to separate a series of related clauses.

I had a meeting today; I was on time for the meeting; and I wore a suit to the meeting.

I hope this helped and answered any questions you had about how to use semicolons properly.

Just to be sure you’re using semicolons correctly, run your sentences through our rephrase tool.

To learn more, check out this paraphrase how to guide; it's always good to see examples of paraphrase, so you know what to expect.

Below are examples of the semicolon in action, from some famous authors. Enjoy!

"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings. "

  • Anaïs Nin

"A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment. "

  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me... everyday. "

  • Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

"Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."

  • Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. "

  • J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

"If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger. "

  • Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

"Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new. "

  • Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. "

  • James Baldwin

"If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing. If she's worth it, you wont give up. If you give up, you're not worthy. ... Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for. "

  • Bob Marley, Guitar Chord Songbook - Bob Marley

"You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride. "

  • Jodi Picoult, Mercy