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Colons and Semi-colons

Page history last edited by jgervais@trcc.commnet.edu 12 years, 6 months ago

Using a semi-colon

Semi-colons are used to join two sentences that are closely related.  Sentences can always be ended with a period, but a semi-colon suggests a stronger association between the two ideas.


Unjust laws are really unfortunate; just laws make us happy to be alive.


I sent the letter by courier yesterday; the post office estimated arrival in two days.


I hate singing songs around the campfire; I prefer throwing explosives into the flames.


Using the colon

In addition to being a large part of the body, the colon is used to set up lists or elaborations.  It is often used after a complete sentence to bring attention to a list of items.  It can also be used if the sentence following summarizes the first.


            There were four Beatles: John, Paul, George, and Ringo.


I always like to bring a few items with me in the woods: a meat sandwich, a compass, twelve sticks of TNT, and a large blowgun.

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