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Revise Your Punctuation: Colons and Semi-Colons 2

In this worksheet, students revise whether to use colons or semi-colons to join sentences.

'Revise Your Punctuation: Colons and Semi-Colons 2' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Grammar and Vocabulary

Curriculum subtopic:   Extend and Apply Grammatical Knowledge

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Colons and semi-colons can both be used to join clauses and sentences, but it can be hard to decide which to use.

 

If the second sentence gives further information about the first part, then a colon is used to join them.

The weather forecast was wrong: it rained all day.

We had to hire a bigger hall: so many people wanted to come to the concert.

 

If the two sentences are closely connected in some other way, a semi-colon is used.

My birthday is in January; my brother's is in March.

I had liver for tea yesterday; I hated it.

 

It would be correct to write all these examples as separate sentences, but using colons and semi-colons shows that the sentences are linked in some way and makes our writing more varied and interesting.

 

It is a very common mistake to use commas to join sentences but it is never correct to do so.

I had liver for tea yesterday, I hated it. (wrong)

Read the sentences below and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) I had to stay at home yesterday, I wasn't feeling well.

 

2) I had to stay at home yesterday: I wasn't feeling well.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the sentences below and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) My brother is fifteen; my sister is thirteen.


2) My brother is fifteen: my sister is thirteen.

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the sentences below and tick all that are correctly punctuated.

 

1) Josie likes playing hockey: Olivia prefers tennis.


2) Josie likes playing hockey, Olivia prefers tennis.


3) Josie likes playing hockey; Olivia prefers tennis.


4) Josie likes playing hockey. Olivia prefers tennis.

sentence 1

sentence 2

sentence 3

sentence 4

Read the sentences below and tick all that are correctly punctuated.

 

1) Harry broke his leg yesterday, he was tackled badly during the match.

 

2) Harry broke his leg yesterday: he was tackled badly during the match.

 

3) Harry broke his leg yesterday. He was tackled badly during the match.

 

4) Harry broke his leg yesterday; he was tackled badly during the match.

sentence 1

sentence 2

sentence 3

sentence 4

Join these two sentences, using either a semi-colon or a colon, and write the new sentence out in the answer box.

 

My sister is learning the clarinet. My brother plays the guitar.

Join these two sentences, using either a semi-colon or a colon, and write the new sentence out in the answer box.

 

We were snowed in yesterday. The roads were completely blocked.

A colon can also be used when the second part of the sentence is not a sentence in its own right.

for example:

There is only one flavour of ice cream worth eating: strawberry.

 

A semi-colon is never used in this way.

 

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) I am looking forward to my birthday; a party, a trip to the cinema and lots of presents!

 

2) I am looking forward to my birthday: a party, a trip to the cinema and lots of presents!

sentence 1

sentence 2

both are correct

Read the following sentences and tick all that are correctly punctuated.

 

1) There was only ever going to be one winner. Sophie.

 

2) There was only ever going to be one winner, Sophie.

 

3) There was only ever going to be one winner; Sophie.

 

4) There was only ever going to be one winner: Sophie.

sentence 1

sentence 2

sentence 3

sentence 4

Colons and semi-colons can replace a conjunction in compound and complex sentences.

I went to bed early because I was tired.

I went to bed early: I was tired.

 

Write the following sentence out again, replacing the conjunction with either a colon or a semi-colon.

 

My mum is Scottish but my dad is Spanish.

Write the following sentence out again, replacing the conjunction with either a colon or a semi-colon.

 

Jacob had to miss the school trip because he was ill.

  • Question 1

Read the sentences below and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) I had to stay at home yesterday, I wasn't feeling well.

 

2) I had to stay at home yesterday: I wasn't feeling well.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 2
EDDIE SAYS
The second part of the sentence gives more information about the first so a colon should be used to join them. It would be correct to write them as two separate sentences, but not to join them with a comma.
  • Question 2

Read the sentences below and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) My brother is fifteen; my sister is thirteen.


2) My brother is fifteen: my sister is thirteen.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 1
EDDIE SAYS
The two parts of the sentence are closely linked, but the second does not explain the first, so a semi-colon should be used rather than a colon.
  • Question 3

Read the sentences below and tick all that are correctly punctuated.

 

1) Josie likes playing hockey: Olivia prefers tennis.


2) Josie likes playing hockey, Olivia prefers tennis.


3) Josie likes playing hockey; Olivia prefers tennis.


4) Josie likes playing hockey. Olivia prefers tennis.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 3
sentence 4
EDDIE SAYS
The sentences can be written separately or joined with a semi-colon.
  • Question 4

Read the sentences below and tick all that are correctly punctuated.

 

1) Harry broke his leg yesterday, he was tackled badly during the match.

 

2) Harry broke his leg yesterday: he was tackled badly during the match.

 

3) Harry broke his leg yesterday. He was tackled badly during the match.

 

4) Harry broke his leg yesterday; he was tackled badly during the match.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 2
sentence 3
EDDIE SAYS
The second part of the sentence explains the first, so a colon can be used. Alternatively, the two parts can be written as separate sentences.
  • Question 5

Join these two sentences, using either a semi-colon or a colon, and write the new sentence out in the answer box.

 

My sister is learning the clarinet. My brother plays the guitar.

CORRECT ANSWER
My sister is learning the clarinet; my brother plays the guitar.
  • Question 6

Join these two sentences, using either a semi-colon or a colon, and write the new sentence out in the answer box.

 

We were snowed in yesterday. The roads were completely blocked.

CORRECT ANSWER
We were snowed in yesterday: the roads were completely blocked.
  • Question 7

A colon can also be used when the second part of the sentence is not a sentence in its own right.

for example:

There is only one flavour of ice cream worth eating: strawberry.

 

A semi-colon is never used in this way.

 

Read the following sentences and decide which one is correctly punctuated.

 

1) I am looking forward to my birthday; a party, a trip to the cinema and lots of presents!

 

2) I am looking forward to my birthday: a party, a trip to the cinema and lots of presents!

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 2
EDDIE SAYS
A colon is needed because the second part of the sentence is a list, not a sentence in its own right.
  • Question 8

Read the following sentences and tick all that are correctly punctuated.

 

1) There was only ever going to be one winner. Sophie.

 

2) There was only ever going to be one winner, Sophie.

 

3) There was only ever going to be one winner; Sophie.

 

4) There was only ever going to be one winner: Sophie.

CORRECT ANSWER
sentence 4
EDDIE SAYS
Only sentence 4 is correct. The word 'Sophie' is not a sentence in its own right.
  • Question 9

Colons and semi-colons can replace a conjunction in compound and complex sentences.

I went to bed early because I was tired.

I went to bed early: I was tired.

 

Write the following sentence out again, replacing the conjunction with either a colon or a semi-colon.

 

My mum is Scottish but my dad is Spanish.

CORRECT ANSWER
My mum is Scottish; my dad is Spanish.
  • Question 10

Write the following sentence out again, replacing the conjunction with either a colon or a semi-colon.

 

Jacob had to miss the school trip because he was ill.

CORRECT ANSWER
Jacob had to miss the school trip: he was ill.
---- OR ----

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