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Like colons, semicolons are used to indicate a connection between sentences or clauses which could otherwise be treated as distinct and grammatically complete in their own right.

A semicolon represents a pause and in emphasis falls somewhere between a colon and a comma.

The most common use for semicolons is punctuating lists. In this situation, a semicolon can be seen as a replacement for the word and:

Semicolons are particularly useful for punctuating lists of longer clauses in order to avoid confusion:

Semicolons have other stylistic or rhetorical uses. Their correct use can be very effective, but care should be taken, as inappropriate usage is common. Semicolons often appear alongside coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, such as and, but, or, although, however, and therefore:

The pause of the semicolon gives emphasis to the clause or sentence which follows in much the same way as a colon. This can be an effective rhetorical tool when presenting an argument in situations where you want to contradict one point with another, offer a balanced perspective, or offer an explanation:

Unlike the colon, there is no debate over whether or not a semicolon should be followed by a lower or upper case letter - a semicolon is always followed by the lower case.

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