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Resource Summary: This page presents information about using the semicolon, including APA style guidelines.
Last Updated: 05/17/11
Semicolons are punctuation marks used to separate parts of sentences. Use a semicolon in the following instances.
1. Two independent clauses. Use a semicolon when separating two independent clauses that are not joined by a conjunction.
Example: Jones (1997) argued that intelligence was fixed; Smith argued that ability could be fluid (2003).
2. Series. Use a semicolon to separate elements in a series that already contains commas.
Example: Amy ordered three pizzas: one with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom; one with bacon, ham, and green peppers; and one with tomatoes, olives, and red peppers.
Example: Many have claimed that the sky is blue (Hawking, Goldberg, & Rita, 1994; Lima, 2003; Steinberg & Jordan, 2001).
Refer to APA section 4.04 for even more information about semicolon usage.