Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

The Canadian Style has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!


7.23 The Semicolon, Co-ordinate elements

Semicolons may be used in place of commas to separate parallel elements in a series if these elements are complex or contain internal punctuation, or if greater emphasis is desired:

  • Genesis 2:3; 4:15, 7; 5:9–14
  • Nature is often hidden; sometimes overcome; seldom extinguished.

Even a series of parallel subordinate clauses may be separated in this manner, provided that the resulting punctuation is not apt to confuse the reader.