Ever wonder about colons & semicolons?

editor

I know many people do! When and where to use them, which should be used and so on.

The first thing to understand is the difference between a colon (:) and semi-colon (;). On Macs and PCs, these are the same key, but using the shift button for a colon – using the key to the right of the ‘L’.

Colons

Colons are used when things need to be listed or separated. Here is an example:

  • Shakespeare said it: “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
  • I’d like to list my favourite fruits: strawberries, pears and bananas.
  • Here’s a quote from the author: “I’ve written the best book ever!”
  • We covered the basics in our class: grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax.

Semicolons

Semicolons, on the other hand, are used to expand a sentence, or give further meaning where commas just won’t do the job, but another sentence isn’t needed. Here are some examples:

  • This paper can explain further; it doesn’t explain it fully, but does a good job.
  • Money is the root of all evil; I don’t believe the reverse is necessarily true.
  • She had all the necessary tools; a sharp mind, quick wit and strong humour.

There are many times when an en dash (–) will work rather than a colon – you should decide which you want to use yourself.

I hope that helps you somewhat! If you need to get in touch and ask any questions, feel free to email me at prooftheword.com@gmail.com!

If you have any questions about the English language or need help getting your document into shape, then please get in touch with me. I will sort out all the English on every document you have and make sure it uses perfect English!

All you have to do is mail me at prooftheword.com@gmail.com or visit my contact page.

I guarantee a great service at a great price, so please get in touch.

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