English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Should there be spaces after a semicolon in a sentence? For example:

"...minimum/standard requirements for a base diploma;there has been..."


"...minimum/standard requirements for a base diploma; there has been..."

share|improve this question

Yes. Generally a space is needed after punctuation and before the start of a new word, the exceptions being the beginning of an enclosed pair such as (parentheses) and "quote" marks. Compound word separators such as hyphens - and slashes "and/or" are also exceptions to using a space.

share|improve this answer
Should the continuing sentence start with a capital letter, or stay as lowercase? – JFW Feb 22 '11 at 10:11
after a semicolon, always use lowercase (unless the first word is ordinarily in uppercase) -- just like you would after a comma – The English Chicken Feb 22 '11 at 11:15
Thanks for the reply. :) Is this same in the case of a dash, as in: "...the upmost importance in this particular subject–it is...". Should there be a space? What about capitalisation of the following sentence after the dash? – JFW Feb 22 '11 at 14:28
My personal opinion is that spaces around a dash (when distinguished from a hyphen) enhance the readability, and I prefer to use them. However, the most commonly accepted form of typography generally avoids use of spaces around a long dash (em-dash or en-dash). – mgkrebbs Feb 23 '11 at 8:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.