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Semicolons, like exclamation marks, can be completely omitted from your writing with practically no ill effects. Their function is to separate more completely than a comma but less than a full stop. This means that they have two uses:
This avoids confusion between the items and their explanations. “The attendees at the meeting included: Rober Taylor, managing director of Taylor-made Communications; Keith Satchell, chief executive of Friends Provident; John Tiner, chief executive of the FSA; and Philip Collins, chairman of the OFT.”
This shows that one depends upon, or is a consequence of, the other. “Don’t just go straight for the cheapest; choose a policy that has adequate cover for your needs.”
Some people think that you have to use semicolons to separate items in a list that follows a colon (“three key issues: climate change; pensions; and the compensation culture”). You don’t. It’s much better to use commas unless some of the items themselves contain commas, as in the example above.