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Use Semi-Colons Correctly 1

In this worksheet, students practise using semi-colons to separate items in a list.

'Use Semi-Colons Correctly 1' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Writing: Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Curriculum subtopic:  Punctuate Independent Clauses

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

A semi-colon can be used instead of a comma to separate items in a list if the list is made up of phrases rather than single words, especially if the phrases already contain commas.

for example:

I need a big bag of bananas, not too green; a tin of tomatoes, preferably Italian ones; a large box of chocolates; a two-pint carton of milk; and some grapes.

 

If the list consists only of short words, then a comma is used.

I need bananas, chocolates, milk and grapes.

 

For lists with commas we don't usually use a comma before the final item, but for lists with semi-colons it is more common (but not essential) to put one in.

 

There is not always a set rule for when to use semi-colons in a list. Sometimes either semi-colons or commas will work. Both of the following sentences are correct.

 

At the zoo we saw several different animals: black and white zebras, colourful parrots, rhinos with long horns and shy gazelles.

 

At the zoo we saw several different animals: black and white zebras; colourful parrots; rhinos with long horns; and shy gazelles.

 

When deciding whether or not to use semi-colons in a list, try using commas first and checking if the sentence makes sense that way. If it is confusing with commas, use semi-colons instead.

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) I went to four cities on my trip: Paris, France, Madrid, Spain, Milan, Italy, and Hamburg, Germany.

 

2) I went to four cities on my trip: Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Milan, Italy; and Hamburg, Germany.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) Police searching for the missing man found a bag containing his clothes, a case full of documents, a camera with a broken lens and an empty wallet.

 

2) Police searching for the missing man found a bag containing his clothes; a case full of documents; a camera with a broken lens; and an empty wallet.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) At the circus we saw acrobats; tightrope walkers; jugglers; and clowns.

 

2) At the circus we saw acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers and clowns.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) The hotel had everything we needed: a large swimming pool; a restaurant serving delicious food; a games room for the children; and an indoor gym.

 

2) The hotel had everything we needed: a large swimming pool, a restaurant serving delicious food, a games room for the children and an indoor gym.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) This week's magazine includes an interview with the club's top scorer; a feature on our new ground; a profile of our latest signing; and lots of special offers.

 

2) This week's magazine includes an interview with the club's top scorer, a feature on our new ground, a profile of our latest signing and lots of special offers.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) The menu included several dishes: roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, served with roast potatoes; battered cod, served with chips and peas; and chicken and ham pie, served with baked beans.

 

2) The menu included several dishes: roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, served with roast potatoes, battered cod, served with chips and peas and chicken and ham pie, served with baked beans.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

When I was in France we went to these places: Paris Nice Lyon and Toulouse.

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

At the fairground I want to go on the roller coaster that goes upside down the big wheel the water flume and the waltzers.

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

The United Kingdom has four capital cities: London England Edinburgh Scotland Cardiff Wales and Belfast Northern Ireland.

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

The last time I saw Jenny she was wearing a bright red hat with a bobble a blue and white checked coat some green gloves and black boots.

  • Question 1

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) I went to four cities on my trip: Paris, France, Madrid, Spain, Milan, Italy, and Hamburg, Germany.

 

2) I went to four cities on my trip: Paris, France; Madrid, Spain; Milan, Italy; and Hamburg, Germany.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 2
EDDIE SAYS
Great effort! The first sentence makes it look like there are eight different places instead of four. As the cities are from the countries that follow them it is helpful to use a semi-colon to show they are grouped together.
  • Question 2

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) Police searching for the missing man found a bag containing his clothes, a case full of documents, a camera with a broken lens and an empty wallet.

 

2) Police searching for the missing man found a bag containing his clothes; a case full of documents; a camera with a broken lens; and an empty wallet.

CORRECT ANSWER
both are correct
EDDIE SAYS
Good job! In this example both sentences are easy to understand, so it is just a matter of choice.
  • Question 3

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) At the circus we saw acrobats; tightrope walkers; jugglers; and clowns.

 

2) At the circus we saw acrobats, tightrope walkers, jugglers and clowns.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 2
EDDIE SAYS
You got this! Remember when a list only contains short words it is better to use commas, so semi-colons are not necessary.
  • Question 4

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) The hotel had everything we needed: a large swimming pool; a restaurant serving delicious food; a games room for the children; and an indoor gym.

 

2) The hotel had everything we needed: a large swimming pool, a restaurant serving delicious food, a games room for the children and an indoor gym.

CORRECT ANSWER
both are correct
EDDIE SAYS
Well done for having a go! In this case both sentences are correct. Remember there is no strict rule as to when to use commas or semi-colons. As long as the phrases are grouped together and separated by either a semi-colon or comma it will be correct.
  • Question 5

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) This week's magazine includes an interview with the club's top scorer; a feature on our new ground; a profile of our latest signing; and lots of special offers.

 

2) This week's magazine includes an interview with the club's top scorer, a feature on our new ground, a profile of our latest signing and lots of special offers.

CORRECT ANSWER
both are correct
EDDIE SAYS
Again the same rule applies here. Both lists contain phrases but can be separated bu using either commas or semi-colons. You got this!
  • Question 6

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) The menu included several dishes: roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, served with roast potatoes; battered cod, served with chips and peas; and chicken and ham pie, served with baked beans.

 

2) The menu included several dishes: roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, served with roast potatoes, battered cod, served with chips and peas and chicken and ham pie, served with baked beans.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 1
EDDIE SAYS
You getting the hang of this now? We need to use semi-colons here because the items on the list already contain commas. The second version is very confusing!
  • Question 7

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

When I was in France we went to these places: Paris Nice Lyon and Toulouse.

CORRECT ANSWER
When I was in France we went to these places: Paris, Nice, Lyon and Toulouse.
EDDIE SAYS
As this list only contains short words we only need to use commas. Don't forget your capital letters!
  • Question 8

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

At the fairground I want to go on the roller coaster that goes upside down the big wheel the water flume and the waltzers.

CORRECT ANSWER
At the fairground I want to go on the roller coaster that goes upside down, the big wheel, the water flume and the waltzers.
At the fairground I want to go on the roller coaster that goes upside down; the big wheel; the water flume; and the waltzers.
At the fairground I want to go on the roller coaster that goes upside down; the big wheel; the water flume and the waltzers.
EDDIE SAYS
Great effort! As this list contains phrases you can use either commas or semi-colons. Keep it up!
  • Question 9

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

The United Kingdom has four capital cities: London England Edinburgh Scotland Cardiff Wales and Belfast Northern Ireland.

CORRECT ANSWER
The United Kingdom has four capital cities: London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardiff, Wales; and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom has four capital cities: London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Cardiff, Wales and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
EDDIE SAYS
This list needs commas between the cities and the countries, but semi-colons to separate the four places.
  • Question 10

Rewrite this sentence, punctuating the list correctly.

 

The last time I saw Jenny she was wearing a bright red hat with a bobble a blue and white checked coat some green gloves and black boots.

CORRECT ANSWER
The last time I saw Jenny she was wearing a bright red hat with a bobble, a blue and white checked coat, some green gloves and black boots.
The last time I saw Jenny she was wearing a bright red hat with a bobble; a blue and white checked coat; some green gloves; and black boots.
The last time I saw Jenny she was wearing a bright red hat with a bobble; a blue and white checked coat; some green gloves and black boots.
EDDIE SAYS
Super star! You can use either commas or semi-colons for this one.
---- OR ----

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