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English Bites!

engbites1English Bites! are practical, bite-sized tips to help you improve your English for work. Published twice a week, the articles include useful advice covering different aspects of business English including grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking as well as fun topics. It'll take just a few minutes to read each tip. You can subscribe to English Bites! from the Newsletters link above. After that, you'll receive notifications of all new tips by email.

Business Punctuation: The Semicolon

08 Mar 2021
  • semicolonA semicolon is used between two clauses of a compound sentence when the clauses are not joined by a conjunction.
His announcement came as a complete surprise; no one knew what to do.
  • Use a semicolon between independent clauses that are joined by a conjunctive adverb (such as therefore, however, and consequently). Use a comma after the conjunctive adverb.

The shipment arrived too late; therefore, we are returning it to you.


I cannot attend the meeting; nevertheless, you should attempt to resolve the issue as best you can.


Johnny was late to work again today; in fact, he very seldom comes on time.


We cannot meet with you today; however, we can see you next Friday.

  • When at least one unit in a series contains a comma, place a semicolon between the units.
The new student body officers are Mindy Chan, president; Sandy Ng, vice president; Howard Leung, secretary- treasurer; and Jim Choi, public relations.
 

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