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Semicolons & Colons

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on 16 August 2013

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Transcript of Semicolons & Colons

Main Uses of a Colon
Use a colon after the salutation in:
a formal letter
to indicate hours and minutes
to show proportions
between a title and a subtitle
to separate city and publisher in bibliographic entries.
Conventional Uses
Use a semicolon when you want to form a bond between two statements, typically when they are related to or contrast with one another.
When should I use a semicolon?
Use the semicolon as a super-comma
Use a semicolon to connect sentences that contain internal punctuation.
A colon can be used after an independent clause to direct readers' attention to a list, an appositive, or a quotation.
The most common way to use a semicolon is to connect two independent clauses.
I found the buried treasure

It was filled with plastic coins.
I found the buried treasure.

*Take a breath*
It was filled with plastic coins.
The two statements are separated by a period. If read aloud it would sound something like this:
With a semicolon, however, a moderate pause replaces the lengthier pause of the period. It would sound like this:
I found the buried treasure
it was filled with plastic coins.
How do I use a semicolon?
If you have two independent clauses, meaning they could stand on their own as complete sentences, it is okay to use a semicolon.

The pirate loves gold doubloons;
he doesn't mind that they are plastic.
Both of these are independent clauses that could stand alone as complete sentences.

use along with a conjunction!
for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
My dog ate my homework
; but
he didn't learn anything from it.
My dog ate my homework
he didn't learn anything from it.
The semicolon should stand alone.
If you insist on using a conjunction, do away with the semicolon and simply place a
in its place.
What's the point of a semicolon?

The pirate can't find his parrot; he won't be a true pirate without it.
The relationship between the parrot and being a true pirate is strengthened by connecting the two independent clauses.
The pirate can't find his parrot. The ship was filled with clams.
In this sentence, the issue with the lost parrot does not need to be connected to the clam problem on the ship, so a period is used.
A semicolon is not needed here
When pirates agree on something
they'll often high five one another
pirates are all about high fives.
If we'd used a comma in place of the semicolon, it would have resulted in a comma splice. If a period was used, we'd lose the connection between the two clauses.
Punctuation Pirate
Use a semicolon if you need to make a list of items that are separated by a comma. This often occurs when listing locations, names, dates, and descriptions.
When can I use it?
My favorite people on Earth are
Blue Feather, my parrot companion

Ariel,my mermaid girlfriend
Captain Hook, my twin brother
The semicolon allows you to list and describe all three characters in the same sentence.
A List
The ship contains the following: the sail, pirate map, an anchor, Krabby Patties, and a flag with a skull.
An Appositive
My shipmate is guilty of breaking two of our five pirate sins: theft and sloth
A Quotation
Consider the words of Captain Blackbeard: "Don't forget to say please and thank you."
Keep in mind that a colon should not be placed after a verb.
It should NOT look like this
The pirate's treasures
: a necklace, sword, and diamonds.
A colon may also be used between independent clauses if the second summarizes or explains the first.

Treasure hunting comes natural for pirates: it cannot be learned.
Dear Sir or Madam:
1:00 p.m.
The ratio was 4:1
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
New York: Oxford University Press, 2001
A colon must be preceded by an independent clause. Therefore, avoid using it in the following situations.
Between a verb and its object or complement
The pirate's treasures
a necklace, sword, and diamonds.
Between a preposition and its object
After such as, including, or for example
There are rules aboard the ship
such as:
make sure you chew with your mouth closed, no running, and no screaming.
The pirate's cabin
consists of:
three bunk beds and a hammock.
The End
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