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Colons and Semicolons

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Cara Alexander

on 25 October 2012

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Transcript of Colons and Semicolons

Colons Semicolons In order to understand the colon and semicolon rules we need to understand dependent and independent clauses. A semicolon connects two independent clauses that are typically related to or contrast one another. semicolons have three major uses #1 For example, the following is NOT a good use of a semicolon:

I prefer spending time with my sister; that banana was thrown in the lake.

To fix this sentence we would replace the semicolon with a period because they are separate ideas that do not relate to each other. OR…
We could choose one of the independent clauses to elaborate on

I prefer spending time with my sister; my brother is a freak show.
OR
A monkey peeled back a rotten banana yesterday; that banana was thrown in the lake. Remember that a semicolon joins two INDEPENDENT clauses. Here is an example of a common error:
The Lorax has a very high voice; especially when he is defending the truffula trees.
Corrected:
The Lorax has a very high voice; this is especially evident when he is defending the truffula trees. Note: One cannot use FANBOYS (coordinating conjunctions) after a semicolon.
For example, the following is incorrect:
I prefer spending time with my sister; for my brother is a freak show.
Corrected:
I prefer spending time with my sister, for my brother is a freak show.
For
And
Nor
But
Or
Yet
So #2 2.We can also use semicolons to connect sentences that contain internal punctuation. For example:
The good witch of the north noticed that Todo looked fat, and she thought it was Dorothy’s fault; Dorothy was oblivious to this fact.
If we had used a period in place of the semicolon, we would have lost the connection between the two clauses. Using a period would be correct, but a semicolon is better. #3 3.We can also use semicolons to make a complicated list of items. Usually these lists contain locations, dates, names, and descriptions. One might think of the semicolon as acting as a super comma in this case. For example:

The five main characters in the Land Before Time series are Littlefoot, the brave longneck; Cera, the strong-willed triceratops; Ducky, the one who says “I founded it”; Petrie, the self-conscious bird; and Spike, the mute.

Here, the semicolon enables us to describe, in detail, each of the five characters we list. You might be thinking “Wait a minute! You just used a coordinating conjunction ‘and’, one of the FANBOYS, right after your semicolon!” Yes, we did. It is acceptable in this case because we are using the semicolon to LIST items. There are many ways to use colons, but they must be preceded by an independent clause The first way to use a colon is after an independent clause that introduces a list. For example:
My dog is afraid of many things: wind, cats, water, and butterflies.
This sentence is correct because there is an independent clause (dog is afraid) before the colon that introduces what you are listing. In this case we are listing things that my dog is afraid of. #1 #2 Don't use a colon with

such as, including, like or consists of Do use a colon with

no joining word, the following or as follows Independent Clause: Options Independent Clause; Independent Clause You can also use a colon to add extra information or clarification to a sentence.
The colon distinguishes the second clause as an answer to an implied question raised in the first independent clause.
The second clause can be independent OR dependent.
To test if a colon is appropriate, phrase the first clause as a question and the second as the answer. Here is an example where
the second clause is independent.
The Rebel Alliance made a plan: they would attack the Death Star before it was completed.
Implied Question: What was the plan? Answer: attacking the Death Star Example where second clause is dependent
The Rebel Alliance made a plan: attacking the Death Star before it was
completed. The next way to use a colon is similar to the previous, but the colon is followed by an appositive instead of a list. An appositive is a word or group of words that renames a noun or a pronoun.
An example of an appositive is,
When playing a game with Chewbacca, the friendly wookie, always let him win.
In this case, the appositive is the friendly wookie. When an appositive is introduced by an independent clause, use a colon. The snowman put his money in a safe place: the snow bank. This is correct, because the clause after the colon is an appositive renaming the noun. safe place = snow bank The snowman put his money in a safe place: pi. Mathematicians have a favorite dessert: pi. favorite dessert = pi This is incorrect because pi is not a safe place to keep money #3 Question
Is this sentence correct? If not, how would you correct it?
There are many lost boys including: Tootles, Nibs, Slightly, Curly, and The Twins. Answer
The sentence is INCORRECT. To fix it, remove the "including"
There are many lost boys: Tootles, Nibs, Slightly, Curly, and The Twins. Independent Clause: A clause that can stand alone as a sentence, containing a subject and a predicate (conjugated verb). Dependent Clause: A clause that cannot stand alone as a sentence. A dependent clause is usually attached to an independent clause. Question
Add an appropriate appositive after the colon to complete the following sentence.
Last night I watched my favorite show: _______________________ Question
Add an appropriate INDEPENDENT clause after the colon to complete the following sentence.
I will always remember my first day of school:________________________________________________ Citations
http://sana.tkk.fi/awe/punctuation/colons/problems.html
http://unilearning.uow.edu.au/writing/3c.html
http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/semi-colons-colons-and-dashes/
http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/111602colon.htm
http://www.grammarly.com/handbook/punctuation/colon/5/misuse-of-colon/
http://www.iolani.honolulu.hi.us/Keables/KeablesGuide/PartFour/SemicolonsandColons.htm
http://www.trees4life.ca/fun-quiz/
http://www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/Trees.asp
http://www.whitesmoke.com/punctuation-colon.html
http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/appositive.htm Question
Is this sentence correct? If not, how would you correct it?
Cinderella wanted to dance the night away; but she had to leave at midnight. Answer
Incorrect. Corrected:
Cinderella wanted to dance the night away, but she had to leave at midnight. Question
Is this sentence correct? If not, how would you fix it?
Peter came into Wendy's room to take her on a journey; all the way to Neverland. Question
Is the following sentence correct? If not, how would you fix it?
Charlotte felt sorry for Wilbur, the young spring pig living below her web; he was often picked on by Templeton, yet he was such a nice pig. Answer
The sentence is correct. How is this sentence incorrect?
There are many rides at Disneyland; I like hard-boiled eggs.

How could you correct it?
There are many rides at Disneyland ;__________________. Where should there be punctuation?
HINT: Semicolon or colon?
The following students have won awards for their written speeches John Smith, Ray Pewter, and Holly May.

The following students have won awards for their written speeches: John Smith, Ray Pewter, and Holly May. Answer
Incorrect. Corrected:
Peter came into Wendy's room to take her on a journey; they went all the way to Neverland. Answer:
A few of the many places to study on campus include the courtyard, where one can hear the fountain; the arts atrium, which is full of large plants; and the library, a very quiet place if you know where to go. Question: How would you punctuate this sentence?
A few of the many places to study on campus include the courtyard, where one can hear the fountain the arts atrium, which is full of large plants and the library, a very quiet place if you know where to go. Question
How would you punctuate the following sentence?
Smeagol will take you up the stairs to the tunnel a very deadly place.