Think of the semicolon (;) as an alternative to using a period or comma. It is a bit weaker than a period and a bit stronger than a comma when it is used to connect two independent clauses. Most people either use a period to write the two independent clauses as separate sentences (example: “Thick fog hampers a driver’s vision. In this type of weather, people need to take caution and slow down behind the wheel.”) The second choice by many would be to use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (example: “Thick fog hampers a driver’s vision, and in this type of weather, people need to take caution and slow down behind the wheel.”) Although both of these constructions are correct, it is also acceptable to use a semicolon (example: “Thick fog hampers a driver’s vision; in this type of weather, people need to take caution and slow down behind the wheel.”)

Use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses that are closely related or connected with a conjunctive adverb or transitional word (such as however, meanwhile, furthermore, finally, therefore, otherwise, yet, also, and even though). Just remember to put a comma after the conjunctive adverb or transitional word (example: “I can’t stand when it snows; however, it is pretty when it first falls.”). For more detailed lists and explanations of conjunctive adverbs, visit http://www.k12reader.com/term/conjunctive-adverbs/. A list of transitional words can be found at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/574/02/. These will help you properly use the semicolon in your writing.

There are other uses for semicolons, but at least this will infuse some variety into your writing when it comes to sentence construction.

How to use a semicolon