Everest - Monday
English - GPS
Learn - Semicolons
A semicolon can be used instead of a full stop between two related sentences or independent clauses. This links them together in a way a full stop does not.
Semicolons in sentences
A semicolon can also replace a coordinating conjunction that links two independent clauses together.
- The doctor’s superhero cape is yellow and the nurse's cape is green.
- The doctor’s superhero cape is yellow; the nurse's cape is green.
We don’t use a capital letter after a semicolon as it isn’t a new sentence.
The only time we would use a capital letter after a semicolon is when the word is a proper noun (the name of a person or place, eg Sophia).
Semicolons and lists
Semicolons have another important job! They help keep sentences in order, especially when separating information about items in a list. Use them instead of a comma in lists to show which items are grouped together.
Maham scanned through her list for the trip to the seaside: food, for the picnic; toys, for the beach; a swimsuit, for going in the sea and a sunhat, to protect her head.
Watch this video all about the inspirational Victorian nurse Florence Nightingale.
Next, look at the table below:
1) Match the sentences/clauses together.
2) Rewrite the pairs you matched up using a semicolon.
For example: Florence sat with anyone that needed comforting; she read to them and helped them to write home.
|Sentence 1||Sentence 2|
|Florence founded modern nursing||but it helped Florence to learn even more skills.|
|Florence worked in a hospital in London||yet she always checked on her patients at night (with the help of a lamp).|
|Infection killed lots of soldiers||she always wanted to be a healer.|
|She was often tired by the evening||Florence realised that hygiene was important!|
|Nursing in the Crimean war was difficult||and became head nurse within a year.|
Remember, a semicolon should only be used to link together sentences that are related to each other.
In the example below, a semicolon has been used incorrectly because the two sentences are not directly related.
Florence healed lots of soldiers; she liked to eat fruit.
Download the worsheet here and please insert the semi-colon into the correct place in each sentence.