With a short series (list), use commas. However, do not use a comma before the final conjunction.

  • Students will need compasses, rulers and calculators.

With a long or complex series (list), use semi-colons.

  • His main research areas include: 20th century literature and criticism; aesthetics of criticism in the postmodern era; deconstructionist criticism and French literature; and theatre history for set designers.

Note that at the end of a series of semicolons, “and” or “or” may be omitted, however the final series semicolon cannot be omitted.

(See the Commas section.)

For more information on punctuation, see the CP Stylebook.