In Lists

Using Semicolons in Lists

A picture of Dallas at nightSo right after telling you that semicolons shouldn’t be used like commas, we should discuss one situation where the semicolon does function more like a comma. However, this is a very particular situation, so you’ll want to pay close attention.

You should use semicolons when you are separating items in a list that contain commas. Here is an example:

At the Comicon conference, I met Jeanne, from Dallas, Texas; James, from Bend, Oregon; and Stacey, from Bangor, Maine.

Because the items in the series contain commas themselves, it would be confusing to add more commas to the situation. In this particular instance, the semicolon separates the items in a series.

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