Punctuation Marks Part 2

Punctuation Marks Part 2

                                                   Colon (:)

        - Colons are used to introduce lists:

  • For your English class, you will need: a coursebook, a pen, a notebook, and a good teacher.

   - We use a colon to connect two independent clauses, when the second clause explains, expands or adds extra information to the first:

  • Ronald had always loved grammar: he owned multiple dictionaries and had verb lists all over the walls of his study.

   - We use colons for emphasis:

  • There was one thing that interested her more than anything: punctuation.

                                                  Semi-colon (;) 

   - We can use a semicolon to join two separate (independent) clauses that are related to each other without using a coordinating conjunction like and.

  • I clean my teeth every day; I don't want to end up with tooth decay


  - When making a list, we can use semicolons to divide the items if they are long or contain internal punctuation. In these cases, the semicolon helps readers keep track of the divisions between the items.

  • I need the weather statistics for the following cities: London, England; London, Ontario; Paris, France; Paris, Ontario; and Perth, Scotland; Perth, Ontario.


  - If you have a conjunctive adverb that joins two independent clauses, you should use a semicolon between the clauses. Common conjunctive adverbs include words like also, moreover, nevertheless, however, otherwise, therefore, then, finally, likewise, consequently, and many others.

  • I needed to go for a walk and get some fresh air; also, I needed to buy flour.


(Note: you shouldn’t use a semicolon and a conjunction. In other words, when you use a semicolon, you use it instead of the ands, buts, and ors; you don’t need both. 

  • I saw a magnificent albatross, and it was eating a mouse.


  • I saw a magnificent albatross; it was eating a mouse. 


     Joining two independent clauses with a comma without conjunction creates a comma splice. Some people consider it a type of a run-on sentence, while other people think of it as a punctuation error.

  • I am not angry with you, I am not happy with you, either.

How to fix a comma splice?

  1. Add a conjunction.

  • I am not angry with you, but I am not happy with you, either.

  1. Change the comma to a semicolon.

  • I am not angry with you; I am not happy with you, either.

  1. Make separate sentences.

  • I am not angry with you. I am not happy with you, either.

     However, you might use a comma splice in fiction to convey a character’s racing thoughts or observations, in rhetoric to create a sense of grandeur or in poetry to just create the right rhythm.

  • She was beautiful, she was gorgeous, she was ravishing.

  • I came, I saw, I conquered.

  • Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day . . .

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