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Colon and Semi Colon

When do I use colon and semi colon within a sentence?

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I can't improve upon the clear advice given here:

speedwell2 February 24, 2004, 2:59am

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Why does it do that??!?! The information given above as "colon..." was cut off; the real name was "colonsemi.html."

Hey, I used a colon and a semicolon in my posts. Hoo-raw, as they say around here (that would be Texas).

speedwell2 February 24, 2004, 3:06am

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colons are for lists.

the days of the week are: sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday...

semicolons separate independent clauses in a sentence.

i dropped my pen on the floor; instead of picking it up, I just left it there.

sam May 16, 2004, 2:13pm

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Sam, you are oversimplifying.

speedwell2 May 17, 2004, 4:12am

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You have to admit, it's a pretty good oversimplification.

anonymous coward May 17, 2004, 1:39pm

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Saying that a colon can only be used for lists is just listing one of its several functions: clarifying a statement with a directly related piece of information; making identically balanced assertions (Speech is silver: silence is golden), and others.

English tends to avoid using colons, however. Nowadays, the dash is used more naturally in a variety of situations where, for instance, French uses a colon without exception ("He stayed at home - he didn't want to see me," with the connotation that 'he didn't want to see me' is the reason why he stayed at home). When translating from French to English, you get a very funny looking translation if you keep the same amount of colons.


Colin July 25, 2004, 12:25pm

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I am looking for comma full stop, question mark,apostrofe,semi colons

bokza August 18, 2004, 2:10pm

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speedwell2 August 18, 2004, 4:57pm

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Lima March 15, 2006, 5:01pm

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Hi Speedwell, re: "Why does it do that?..." Whenever you paste any link into this forum, only a portion of the link is displayed. The rest is automatically replaced with an ellipsis, probably to improve readability with overly long links. The actual link is live and will function properly when clicked on. Depending on your browser and settings, the full link will be displayed in the bottom border of the browser window when the mouse hovers over it.

porsche March 16, 2006, 11:40am

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"the days of the week are: sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday... "

That is actually incorrect. The linking verb in that sentence makes the colon unnecessary. It should be "the days of the week are sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday..." or "the days of the week: sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday..."

Foxtrot August 22, 2006, 6:54pm

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Is this a proper use of a semi colon?
"While it is apparent that some market concern remains in regards to the Company’s leveraged balance sheet and the uncertain direction of natural gas prices, we remain favourably disposed to ABC Oil Company; primarily in consideration of the medium to long term reserve potential at Bigfoot and the Company’s stellar exploration success with the drill bit."

Robb August 29, 2006, 7:21am

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No. An independent clause should follow the semi-colon.

Try a comma there. Better yet, tame that monster of a sentence! It appears to an example of a sentence that could be better said with half the words.

regards => regard
medium to long term => medium-_to long-term
**(I plopped an underscore in because the posting software on this site omits spaces after punctuation marks, but a space goes there.)

buckbingham September 1, 2006, 11:04am

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can you give me some examples of using semicolons in sentences?

Newbie January 5, 2007, 4:38pm

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Anonymous January 23, 2007, 7:14am

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When do you use Comme Splice Plz respnd quickly

Anonymous January 23, 2007, 7:15am

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A semi-colon is a soft period; it links two independent clauses more closely than a period would, though a period could be used. A colon is used to introduce an expansion or clarification: an example, for example.

Steven January 26, 2007, 8:17am

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Did I use the smi-colon correctly here?

Just think; if I had chosen the counsel of my Dean of Women I would have aborted her and missed the joy she is to me and countless others entrusted to her care.

Linda February 6, 2007, 10:03am

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No. This instance is one of the few in which a colon joins two independent clauses, but it does so because the second really does expalin and expand on the first. Your sentence should be as follows:

Just think: if I had chosen....

Steven February 7, 2007, 6:29am

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Yes     No