For the two sentences below, would a semicolon work better to separate these two sentences?

Circle graphs, often called pie charts, are used to represent data with a relatively small number of categories. They illustrate how a whole is separated into parts.

Is this a case where both a period and a semicolon can work? The two sentences are independent but still related, so it seems reasonable to put a semicolon between them.

Here are two more sentences where a semicolon seems to work:

Sometimes data are collected to study two different variables in the same population of individuals or objects. Such data are called bivariate data.

  • @Kris er ... that's a colon.
    – user63230
    Jan 27, 2014 at 8:04
  • @Kris. Yes I agree with andy256. We should be talking about a semi-colon here, not a colon. A semi-colon would work in either of the proposed sentences.
    – WS2
    Jan 27, 2014 at 11:03
  • @andy256 Also, WS2: Sorry, that was some real confusion; I retract.
    – Kris
    Jan 27, 2014 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


In both cases, a semicolon would work. In both cases, a semicolon is also completely uncalled for. Especially since the sentences are already quite long.

As a rule of thumb, if you find yourself wondering if you should use a semicolon for the sole sake of using a semicolon, do not use a semicolon.

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