Below is an example of how I normally use semi-colon in sentences and I truly do not know if it's correct.

Open the gate; let the dogs out, then close the gate.

  • It's not correct. If you're going to make a list of things to do, use consistent punctuation, especially if every phrase is a complete sentence. – SrJoven Nov 27 '14 at 3:42
  • 1
    Or, it is correct. But it's awful because it cries out for a period. – SrJoven Nov 27 '14 at 3:43
  • It difficult to know whether your usage is correct without knowing what you're trying to accomplish. – szarka Nov 27 '14 at 8:02

A semi-colon is used in two circumstances: to join two sentences together into a single sentence, or to delimit a list whose items contain commas. In the first case, anywhere you could use a comma and conjunction would be fine to use a semi-colon instead.

Last night the lights went out in the storm; I stubbed my toe badly in the dark.

In the second case, the semi-colon simply replaces the comma when the list items have commas themselves. For example:

My last tour took me to three state capitols: Albany, NY; Hartford, CT; and Boston, MA.

Actually, grammatically speaking, it is not "incorrect;" that is, given a very liberal view of punctuation. However, as one noted, a comma is appropriate here. Generally, a semi-colon is stronger than a comma, so this particular example does not really warrant a semi-colon.

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