I've studied that comma is used before FANBOYS ("For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So"), but in the following lines extracted from text there had been used colon and semicolon before AND. I could not understand the reason behind it?

  1. The medical profession began to pay more attention to what he said: and at that time he had quite a lot to say.

  2. Lysozyme was not a chemical but a natural antiseptic; and unlike chemical anti septics, it destroyed germs and yet had no harmful effect on leucoytes.

  • 1
    The colon there is not correct (although it might have been quite normal using the different norms of 150+ years ago). The semicolon is being used a little freely, but not much — it accentuates the pause there, as @LawrenceC notes in his comment. The rule of thumb is that the phrase on each side of a semicolon should be an independent clause; hence, the presence of "and" on the other side is only as "wrong" as starting a new sentence with "and". And we see that done fairly often for style. But if you're looking for general best practices, the comma would be safer. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 16:30
  • Keep in mind that semicolons have two uses. One is to join two closely related independent clauses without using a coordinating conjunction(FANBOYS), and the text on each side of the semicolon must be a complete sentence in this case; another is to separate items in a series when the items themselves contain commas. Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 7:02
  • @LernerZhang Related.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 24, 2022 at 21:27

2 Answers 2


And is a coordinating conjunction. Semicolons join two independent clauses that are NOT connected by a coordinating conjunction, unless the clauses are really long or already have several commas.

If you remove and you can use the semicolon, if you use and you should remove the semicolon.


  • @LawrenceC...its ok to use semicolon in order to join two independent clauses but in the above sentences both semicolon and a conjuction is used,which is not correct...why is it so? Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 13:39
  • 2
    The semicolon sort of acts like a coordinating conjunction. So it's redundant. It sounds like you are saying "there's more coming in this sentence" twice in a weird way. Note that other types of conjunctions you can use with the semicolon without issue.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 13:46

Simply put, those sentences from your text are wrong. Colons are used when related information follows, especially with lists of things after the phrase "as follows" or "the following". Semicolons are used in place of a comma and any one of the FANBOYS, and NEVER with one of them. Your suspicion that the example sentences are weird is completely correct.

  • These were my thoughts as well. I would have written #1 with a dash instead of a colon, and, in #2, I would have removed the and. They look more like examples of what not to do.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 16:27
  • Honestly, there really aren't any rules about dashes; number one can be made correct with a simple comma. Though dashes do allow for creativity and it absolutely would work. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 16:29
  • Yes, a dash might indicate a small measure of emphasis or surprise that isn't really there with the comma. If that emphasis was unwanted, the comma would be better.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 16:37
  • 'Semicolons are used in place of a comma and any one of the FANBOYS, and NEVER with one of them.' But at least some of FANBOYS are virtually universally accepted as words with which one can begin a grammatical sentence nowadays. Have you an authoritative source supporting this claim, please? Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 14:07

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