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Using the semi-colon.

In this exercise you will have to decide which pairs of clauses can be connected with a semi-colon.

1

Which can/should be connected with a semi-colon?

a) I hate rice pudding _____ dairy products don't agree with me.
b) Spain is lovely _____ hot weather and friendly people.
c) Spain _____ lovely beaches, endless blue sea and great weather.
d) Spain is a lovely country _____ the beaches are endless and the weather is always good.
a) Wonderful. The two clauses can stand alone and are closely connected.a) Think again. The two clauses can stand alone and are closely connected.b) Wonderful. The two clauses are not independent, they can not stand alone.b) Think again. The two clauses are not independent, they can not stand alone.c) Wonderful. The two clauses are not independent, they can not stand alone.c) Think again. The two clauses are not independent, they can not stand alone.d) Wonderful. The two clauses can stand alone and are closely connected.d) Think again. The two clauses can stand alone and are closely connected.
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2

Which can/should be connected with a semi-colon?

a) Paris is a beautiful city ______ wide streets and sunshine.
b) Havana is a lovely city ______ rice pudding is one of my favourite foods.
c) I would love to go to France ______ Paris is a lovely city.
d) I would love to go to Greece ______ I love ancient history.
a) Fantastic!! The second clause can not stand alone.a) Wrong. The second clause can not stand alone.b) Fantastic!! The two clauses are independent, but not related.b) Wrong. The two clauses are independent, but not related.c) Fantastic!! The two clauses are independent and related.c) Wrong. The two clauses are independent and related.d) Fantastic!! The two clauses are independent and related.d) Wrong. The two clauses are independent and related.
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3

Which can/should be connected with a semi-colon?

a) Gran hates going to bed early ______ there is too much on the telly.
b) Gran hates doing DIY ______ too much like hard work.
c) Gran hates going to bed early ______ the wallpaper in her house is peeling.
d) Gran hates doing DIY ______ the wallpaper in her house is peeling.
a) Well done!! The two clauses are independent and related.a) Think again. The two clauses are independent and related.b) Well done!! The second clause can not stand alone.b) Think again. The second clause can not stand alone.c) Well done!! The two clauses are independent, but not related.c) Think again. The two clauses are independent, but not related.d) Well done!! The two clauses are independent and related.d) Think again. The two clauses are independent and related.
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4

Which can/should be connected with a semi-colon?

a) Understanding grammar is very important ______ despite its complexity.
b) Understanding grammar is very important ______ clear communication is an essential skill.
c) Understanding grammar is very important ______ most high level jobs require good writing skills.
d) Understanding grammar is very important ______ although it is not always the most fascinating subject on the planet.
a) Well done!! The second clause is not independent.a) Have another think. The second clause is not independent.b) Well done!! The two clauses are independent and related.b) Have another think. The two clauses are independent and related.c) Well done!! The two clauses are independent and related.c) Have another think. The two clauses are independent and related.d) Well done!! The second clause is not independent.d) Have another think. The second clause is not independent.
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5

Which can/should be connected with a semi-colon?

a) The stock exchange fell sharply _______ investor confidence is very low.
b) The stock exchange fell sharply _______ many investors decided to sell their shares.
c) The stock exchange fell sharply _______ a difficult day for everybody.
d) The stock exchange fell sharply _______ I would wait before selling your shares.
a) Excellent!!! The two clauses are independent and related.a) Think again. The two clauses are independent and related.b) Excellent!!! The two clauses are independent and related.b) Think again. The two clauses are independent and related.c) Excellent!!! The second clause cannot stand alone.c) Think again. The second clause cannot stand alone.d) Excellent!!! The two clauses are independent and related.d) Think again. The two clauses are independent and related.
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6

a) I'm not going on holiday this year ______ I am very short of money.
b) I'm not going on holiday this year ______ no time!!
c) I'm not going on holiday this year ______ too expensive!
d) I'm not going on holiday this year ______ hot weather doesn't agree with me.
a) Correct. You can use a semicolon to separate these two independent clauses.a) You can use a semicolon to separate these two independent clauses.b) Correct. The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here.b) The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here.c) Correct. The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here.c) The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here.d) Correct. You can use a semicolon to separate these two independent clauses.d) You can use a semicolon to separate these two independent clauses.
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7

a) Clare is a lovely girl _______ gentle and kind.
b) Clare is a lovely girl _______ a smashing cook and a thoughtful parent.
c) Clare is a lovely girl _______ she knows just what to say in a crisis.
d) Clare is a lovely girl _______ I think I will have to marry her.
a) Correct. The second clause cannot stand alone and so a semicolon cannot be used here.a) The second clause cannot stand alone and so a semicolon cannot be used here.b) Correct. The second clause cannot stand alone and so a semicolon cannot be used here.b) The second clause cannot stand alone and so a semicolon cannot be used here.c) Correct. The two clauses are independent and can be joined with a semicolon.c) The two clauses are independent and can be joined with a semicolon.d) Correct. The two clauses are independent and can be joined with a semicolon.d) The two clauses are independent and can be joined with a semicolon.
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8

a) Tim recently took up the guitar ________ he finds it very relaxing.
b) Tim recently took up the guitar ________ a relaxing hobby.
c) Tim recently took up the guitar ________ I pity his neighbours.
d) Tim recently took up the guitar ________ although he has no musical talent.
a) Correct. The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon can be used here. a) The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon can be used here. b) Correct. The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here. b) The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here. c) Correct. The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon can be used here. c) The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon can be used here. d) Correct. The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here. d) The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used here.
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9

a) Tim is emigrating to New Zealand _______ he is fed up with life in the UK.
b) Tim is emigrating to New Zealand _______ he loves the outdoor life.
c) Tim is emigrating to New Zealand _______ a beautiful country.
d) Tim is emigrating to New Zealand _______ he longs for a better life.
a) Correct. The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon works well here. a) The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon works well here. b) Correct. The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon works well here. b) The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon works well here. c) Correct. The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used. c) The second clause is not independent and so a semicolon cannot be used. d) Correct. The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon works well here. d) The two clauses are independent and so a semicolon works well here.
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10

a) DIY is becoming increasingly popular _______ sales of household paint have doubled in the last three years.
b) DIY is becoming increasingly popular _______ and a good thing too.
c) DIY is becoming increasingly popular _______ many people are improving their home rather than moving.
d) DIY is becoming increasingly popular _______ but mainly in the South East.
a) Well done. Both clauses are independent and related so a semicolon can be used here. a) Both clauses are independent and related so a semicolon can be used here. b) Well done. The second clause cannot stand on its own. You cannot use a semicolon.b) The second clause cannot stand on its own. You cannot use a semicolon.c) Well done. Both clauses are independent and related so a semicolon can be used here. c) Both clauses are independent and related so a semicolon can be used here. d) Well done. The second clause cannot stand on its own. You cannot use a semicolon.d) The second clause cannot stand on its own. You cannot use a semicolon.
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Find out more about the correct use of the semi-colon.

See a list of other grammar exercises.