semicolon (;)
Definition - A punctuation mark that is the chief stop intermediate in value between the comma and the full stop.

1. Purportedly, it was invented by Aristophanes of Byzantium.


1. Use them to join two independent clauses when both have equal emphasis or the second restates the first.

I am a housewife; I am alone.

2. Use them to join independent clauses when the second clause starts with a conjunctive adverb (e.g. however, therefore, or thus).

I am a housewife; however, I'm never alone.

3. Use them to join independent clauses when the second clause starts with a transition element (e.g. in fact, for example, or for instance).

All men are created; in fact, all men are equally created.

4. Use them to join items in a series when the items themselves include commas.

I traveled to Moosejaw, Saskachewan; Barrie, Ontario; and Moncton, New Brunswick.

5. The US Government Printing Office Style Guide recommends that they be used to set off words which summarize or explain the preceding matter.

There were three metal producers involved; i.e. Jones & Laughlin, Armco, and Kennecott.

Etymology -
The word semicolon is a hybrid coined by combining the Latin semi, half, with the Greek kolon, limb or part.
Note: The symbol was introduced by the Italian printer Aldus Manutius the Elder who used it to:
(1) separate antonyms and
(2) connect interdependent statements.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1644:
"At a comma, stop a little … At a semicolon, somewhat more."
(Hodges Eng. Primrose N3)

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