Home learning focus
Learn how to use semicolons.
This lesson includes:
Watch this video and remind yourself of the difference between semicolons and colons.
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.
Watch this video to understand what semicolons are and how they should be used.
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.
You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.
Test your knowledge of semicolons by completing this quiz.
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.
You can either print out this activity sheet or write your answers on a piece of paper.
Try this jigsaw to expand your semicolon knowledge!