[General] usage of semi-colon (;)

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jc.analyst

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Hi,

I have identified a relationship between A and B; C and D; E and F; G and H; and I and J.

Usage of semi-colon (;) and 'and' - are they right? If I use comma (,) in the place of semi-colon, it gives me a wrong meaning as I found a relationship among A, B, C, etc.,

Pls help. Thanks.
 
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JoelTC

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You're somewhat correct. Use of semicolons in sentences is tricky. You have to use a semicolon IF using a comma would change the meaning of the list BECAUSE the list contains commas within the list items. For example:

"The three groups for this project will be: Bill, Mary, and Sue; Fred, James, and Paul; and Amy, Helen, and Chris."

Your example doesn't necessarily require the use of a semicolon, because "A and B, C and D, E and F, G and H, and I and J" do not contain internal commas. However, a semicolon between each provides a stronger stop between each list item, which makes it a bit easier to read. So you're correct, but even so you don't need​ to use the semicolon.
 

Barb_D

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IMO, the semi-colon provides the needed clarity. Without it, it's possible (although admittedly unlikely) that the second relationship was between C and D, E and F.
 
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