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[Lat.,=point], the use of special signs in writing to clarify how words are used; the term also refers to the signs themselves. In every language, besides the sounds of the words that are strung together there are other features, such as tone, accent, and pauses,
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a punctuation mark consisting of a period above a comma (;). A semicolon is used between the clauses of a conjunctionless compound sentence if the clauses are lengthy and contain commas, and between the clauses of a complex sentence if they are fairly long or contain commas. A semicolon is also used between lengthy homogeneous parts of a simple sentence, particularly if one of them contains commas. Finally, a semicolon is used between collaterally subordinated clauses if they are long, contain commas, and are not joined by coordinating conjunctions.