Semicolon

* the semi-colon is weaker than a full stop, but stronger than a comma. You can use it to join two independent but closely related sentences

This section will consider the communication electronics technician; another section will be devoted to the computer electronics technician.

* you can also use the semi-colon in complicated lists, for example, to show sub-grouping

Six excellent career fields within mechanical engineering technology are heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC); mechanical design and tool design; numerical control (NC); technical sales; fluid power; and laser technology.

Brackets or parentheses

* round brackets are used for cross-references, abbreviations, definitions, and other subsidiary information

Engineers are developing ideas for tapping hydrate energy sources (see box on page 56)._

Large-Eddy Simulation ( LES) has developed into a promising and potentially powerful technique for flow modelling and numerical control._

These computers must be serviced periodically by computer service technicians (often called 'field engineers or customer service engineers')._

* you can use square brackets when you want to insert a word of your own into a quotation so that it makes good, grammatical sense and completes the meaning of the sentence

The report stated that 'world reserves [of natural gas] will probably last for 70 years'.

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