Colon vs Semicolon
the colon and the semicolon look similar, they each have very different
uses in the English language.
In this lesson, we will take a look at the colon
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looks like one period on top of another ( : ).
looks like a period on top of a comma ( ; ).
Both the colon
and the semicolon
are made on a keyboard by using the
same key ( :/; ) which is one key to the right of the "L".
However, to make a colon
must push the colon/semicolon key and the SHIFT key at the same time.
Uses of the Colon
is one of the easiest forms of punctuation
in the English
language because it is used for one thing: to introduce.
A colon gives
emphasis, or importance, to whatever is being introduced because it
causes the reader
to fully stop and pay attention to what comes next.
The colon is used to introduce words, phrases, lists and
- I have many pets: dogs, cats, fish and birds.
- Richard had only one person on his mind: his girlfriend,
- My favorite quote is from my dad: "Follow your dreams."
- It takes one thing to graduate from high school: hard work.
The colon can also be used for punctuation after the greeting
formal business letter.
- Dear Sir:
- To Whom It May Concern:
- Hiring Manager:
- Dear Madam:
Uses of the Semicolon
1) The semicolon
is used to connect, or put together, two related or
- Mom is taking us to the beach; then she is driving us to
- Tommy cleaned his room; therefore, he is allowed to stay up
- I bought a new bike; the tire is flat.
- Jill wants to adopt a cat; her old cat did not like it.
2) We also use a semicolon to connect items in a list if
commas in the sentence.
Use a semicolon when listing dates, locations, and names with
- I have lived in Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas, Texas; and
- My favorite teachers are Mrs. Smith, my reading teacher;
my math teacher; and Miss Jones, my art teacher.
- Sarah will be out of town for training on January 2, 2012;
October 10, 2012; and January 15, 2013.
Colons and semicolon in the same sentence
Colons and semicolons can be used in the same sentence, but they are
each used for different purposes.
- I have lived in many large cities: Baltimore, Maryland;
and Miami, Florida.
In this example, the
colon is used to introduce the cities. Semicolons
are used to separate each city and state from the next city and state
in the list.
- Her three daughters were born within the last 5 years:
November 16, 2008;
March 17, 2010; and April 23, 2012.
In this example, we
use a colon to introduce the birth dates of the daughters. A semicolon
separates each of the birth dates.
These were the differences and examples of the colon vs semicolon. Now
that you know them, it is
time to practice! Read and do