A semicolon is a punctuation mark that shows you there's a pause in a sentence; semicolons separate two complete clauses.

Unlike a comma, which also indicates a pause in a sentence, a semicolon is used between related independent clauses. This means wherever there's a semicolon, it can be replaced with a period; however, this results in more abrupt, shorter sentences. You can also usually replace a semicolon with a comma followed by a conjunction like and, for, or but. The first printed semicolon appeared in 1494.

Definitions of semicolon
  1. noun
    a punctuation mark (`;') used to connect independent clauses; indicates a closer relation than does a period
    see moresee less
    type of:
    punctuation, punctuation mark
    the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week