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Understand and Apply Semi-Colons

In this worksheet, students will be asked to use a semi-colon to correctly separate two clauses. The student will need to be able to form a semi-colon correctly, with correct placement within their writing.

'Understand and Apply Semi-Colons' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Exam-Style Questions: SATs English

Curriculum subtopic:   Exam-Style Questions: Spellings

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Great job- you've made the fantastic decision to practise using semi-colons, ready for the SATs SPAG test!

 

In this activity, you will practice how to use a semi-colon in the correct place and why a semi-colon is sometimes used in writing.

You probably will not be taught about semi-colons until you are in Year 6 as they are a more advanced form of punctuation.

 

What does a semi-colon look like?

A semi-colon is formed from a dot and a comma on top of one another, like this ;

 

When should we use a semi-colon?

 

1. A semi-colon should be used within a sentence, not at the beginning or end.

It is used to separate clauses within a sentence. The semi-colon will take the place of a conjunction or comma and join the clauses together.

 

Example:

The sky was grey and rain was coming.

The sky was grey; rain was coming.

 

A semi-colon is very useful because it makes the reader pause when he/she gets to it.

 

2. A semi-colon can also be used to separate items within a list if the list contains some internal commas. (This is more tricky!)

 

Example:

I have visited London, Brighton and Exeter in the south; and York, Newcastle and Leeds in the north.

 

Over to you now to have a go at some questions...good luck!

 

Have a good look at this sentence, where could a semi-colon go?

 

Write the word you would place the semi-colon after.

 

It was hot and stuffy they really wanted to go outside.

Carefully read the sentence below.

 

Write the word you would place the semi-colon after.

 

The precious work of Art had gone missing they wondered if someone had stolen it.

 

Look at the sentence below and read it at least twice.

 

Write the word you would place the semi-colon after.

 

I have a big test tomorrow I feel very nervous.

 

Over to you to be the teacher for this one!

 

Read the sentence below carefully and you decide whether the use of the semi-colon is correct or incorrect.

 

The film was a great success the applause; went on for many minutes.

 

Correct

Incorrect

Time to be the teacher!

 

Has the semi-colon been used correctly? Choose correct or incorrect.

 

I love to play football; my sister loves to play tennis.

 

Correct

Incorrect

Can you label each sentence as 'correct' or 'incorrect' depending on the use of the semi-colon?

 

Correct

Incorrect

Time for you to be the teacher!

 

Read each sentence at least twice and then label as 'correct' or 'incorrect' depending on the use of the semi-colon.

 

Correct

Incorrect

Tim has written the sentence below in his exercise book, has he used semi-colons correctly or incorrectly?

 

At the circus we saw a clown juggling with swords and daggers; a lion who stood on a ball; a fire eater with flashing eyes; and an eight-year-old acrobat.

 

Correctly

Incorrectly

As in the SATs SPAG test, you will need to be very careful here...

Read the sentence and then rewrite it, inserting the missing semi-colon.

You MUST include all punctuation, capital letters etc or you won't get the mark!

 

James opened the drawer it was empty.

 

It's the last question and one that requires close attention!

Read the sentence and then rewrite it, inserting the missing semi-colon.

You MUST include all punctuation, capital letters etc or you won't get the mark!

 

Claire had revised so hard she deserved to pass all of her SATS.

  • Question 1

Have a good look at this sentence, where could a semi-colon go?

 

Write the word you would place the semi-colon after.

 

It was hot and stuffy they really wanted to go outside.

CORRECT ANSWER
stuffy
EDDIE SAYS
That's a good start! In this sentence, it would make sense to place a semi-colon after 'stuffy' to separate the two clauses and allow the reader to pause for a breath.
  • Question 2

Carefully read the sentence below.

 

Write the word you would place the semi-colon after.

 

The precious work of Art had gone missing they wondered if someone had stolen it.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
missing
EDDIE SAYS
Nice job if you chose 'missing'. By placing a semi-colon after 'missing', you are giving your reader the chance to pause whilst appropriately separating the two clauses. Keep going; you're doing really well!
  • Question 3

Look at the sentence below and read it at least twice.

 

Write the word you would place the semi-colon after.

 

I have a big test tomorrow I feel very nervous.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
tomorrow
EDDIE SAYS
Did you spot that it should be after 'tomorrow?' The use of a semi-colon in this place nicely separates the two clauses and lets the reader slow down and catch their breath!
  • Question 4

Over to you to be the teacher for this one!

 

Read the sentence below carefully and you decide whether the use of the semi-colon is correct or incorrect.

 

The film was a great success the applause; went on for many minutes.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get the hang of being the teacher?! The semi-colon has been incorrectly used in this sentence. It should be placed after 'success' to correctly separate the clauses. The film was a great success; the applause went on for many minutes.
  • Question 5

Time to be the teacher!

 

Has the semi-colon been used correctly? Choose correct or incorrect.

 

I love to play football; my sister loves to play tennis.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Correct
EDDIE SAYS
Did you see that this sentence is correct? The semi-colon has been correctly placed to separate the clauses that are on the same theme.
  • Question 6

Can you label each sentence as 'correct' or 'incorrect' depending on the use of the semi-colon?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one! There is a lot to think about. Only one sentence used the semi-colon correctly: Tom reads comics; his friend enjoys non-fiction books. The other two sentences should read like this: My hair is soaking; I have just washed it. My goal was to run for 30 minutes; I only ran for 20 minutes.
  • Question 7

Time for you to be the teacher!

 

Read each sentence at least twice and then label as 'correct' or 'incorrect' depending on the use of the semi-colon.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? Surprisingly, all of the sentences are grammatically correct and use a semi-colon correctly. An easy marking task for you!
  • Question 8

Tim has written the sentence below in his exercise book, has he used semi-colons correctly or incorrectly?

 

At the circus we saw a clown juggling with swords and daggers; a lion who stood on a ball; a fire eater with flashing eyes; and an eight-year-old acrobat.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Correctly
EDDIE SAYS
That was definitely a toughie! It is hard to use semi-colons correctly for a list but Tim has managed to do it! Well done Tim! He has used semi-colons to separate items in the list.
  • Question 9

As in the SATs SPAG test, you will need to be very careful here...

Read the sentence and then rewrite it, inserting the missing semi-colon.

You MUST include all punctuation, capital letters etc or you won't get the mark!

 

James opened the drawer it was empty.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
James opened the drawer; it was empty.
EDDIE SAYS
Phew, that was a challenge! Hopefully, you managed to create the sentence: James opened the drawer; it was empty. The semi-colon is nicely positioned to create a breather for the reader and separate the two clauses.
  • Question 10

It's the last question and one that requires close attention!

Read the sentence and then rewrite it, inserting the missing semi-colon.

You MUST include all punctuation, capital letters etc or you won't get the mark!

 

Claire had revised so hard she deserved to pass all of her SATS.

CORRECT ANSWER
Claire had revised so hard; she deserved to pass all of her SATS.
EDDIE SAYS
Great effort! This sentence should read as: Claire had revised so hard; she deserved to pass all of her SATS. Brilliant work! You have completed another activity and are more prepared for your SATS SPAG test.
Try it ---- OR ----

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