ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding the Semicolon and Colon!

Updated on February 19, 2015

The most common punctuation marks in English are probably the period and the comma. Where a comma indicates a small break and the period provides complete interruption. However, good writing in English will usually make use of the colon and the semi-colon. Very few people have mastered the use of these two marks. If English needs to be written more effectively then use of the colon and semicolon is essential. Using colons too often can break the flow of writing.

So don’t go colon-crazy!

In recent years I’m so fond of semi colons; it’s amazing to use a semi colon than a period. The period states that it’s over otherwise it’s the end and now you have to move along. However with a semi colon it gives a feeling of expectancy and a sense of anticipation. Semicolons create more separation between thoughts than a comma does. Colons connect sentences where the second sentence encapsulates, refines, or describes the first sentence. It’s important that the first word following the colon should be lower-cased if the words after the colon form a dependent clause however if the phrase is an independent clause, it may be capitalized.

So what are semicolons and colons?

Semicolons (;) looks like a comma with a period above it, Semicolons are used to separate items in a list that use commas, to join two independent clauses, or to separate main clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb so we can certainly tell which idea belong to which clause. The semicolon helps the writer imply a connection between nicely composed thoughts without actually affirming that relationship.

Examples of Semicolons in a sentence:

  • I really like beef, with barbecue sauce; steak, with Alfredo sauce; and salad, with French dressing.
  • Joanna drives a Jaguar; Michelle drives a Porsche.
  • Mom wants the chores finished; moreover she wants them done aptly.
  • Jack had friends from Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Caracas, Venezuela.
  • Lean calls it football; Ryan calls it soccer.

Colons (:) - Consider the colon as a gateway, inviting one to go on, they are used in sentences to introduce that something trails like a quotes / quotation, instance/ example or a list/series, noun phrase., to express time in titles etc.

Examples of a Colon in a sentence:

  • There are two choices at this time: run away or fight.
  • He kept repeating: “I really want that bike!”
  • He wanted to see three cities in UK: London, England and Ireland.
  • Never forget this point: Never react to a situation, respond to it.
  • These are my favourite colours: blue, turquoise, pink and burgundy.

Consider the example:

Some schoolgirls used the free time in class to talk with their friends; others worked quietly.

This sentence creates an error known as comma splice as comma is used instead of a semi colon. A comma would be accurate if all the important coordinating conjunction were present, like:

Some schoolgirls used the free time in class to talk with their friends, but others worked quietly.

Remain as consistent as possible in choosing the right punctuation mark for bringing effective meaning to the sentence. It can be difficult at times to determine whether the two clauses are simply related, justifying a semicolon, or signify an array of thought, justifying a colon. Semicolons are like a glass of champagne save them for special events, just scatter them throughout the writing.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)