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Semicolons with Series and Lists

Use semicolons to separate items in a series if they contain commas. In some cases, it is a good idea to separate lists with semi-colons if the items are very long and complex—even if they do not contain any internal punctuation.


  • Letter, Number Sets:
    • The answers to the test are 1, D; 2, B; 3, A; 4, D; 5, C; and 6, A.
  • Noun, Description Sets:
    • The winners were surprising: Amy, who placed last during the first test; Connor, who was sick for most of the semester; and Tamar, who has been sleeping through practice recently.
  • City, State Sets:
    • Mary has lived in Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon.
  • Long Items:
    • Joseph has several personal conflicts that he hopes to address with his therapist including his relationship with his ex-wife upon her agreement to a shared custody arrangement for their two children; his hopes to be promoted in his position at the accounting firm that just hired him last month; his desire to be a more compassionate and patient father to his children despite the dissolution of his marriage; and his hopes to develop a more robust spirituality through learning new parenting skills. (https://www.grammarbook.com/blog/semicolons/semicolon-use-in-lists/)
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