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Use Colons and Semi-Colons Accurately

In this worksheet, students will learn how to use a colon or semi-colon for different effects in their writing.

'Use Colons and Semi-Colons Accurately' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Writing

Curriculum subtopic:   Use Accurate Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Using semi-colons and colons correctly can add different effects to your writing and demonstrate sophisticated use of punctuation.

 semi-colon made out of balloons

The semi-colon (;) is a punctuation mark which is used in the following ways:

1. To separate two connected sentences. Here it effectively replaces a connective to link the two parts together.       

'The town was in chaos; looters filled the streets.'

 

2. To separate items in a list when the items are long phrases instead of single words.

'I bought shiny, ripe apples; small, sweet, juicy grapes; and firm pears.'

colon made of balloons

The colon (:) is another punctuation mark which can enhance and improve your writing if used accurately. The common uses are as follows:

1. To introduce a quotation or list.

"In Act 1, Scene 5, Romeo states: 'Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight!/ For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."

'The nightclub played many different types of music: rock, hip-hop, jazz, indie and even soul.'

 

Note that a colon should only be used to introduce a list if the first part of the sentence makes sense on its own.

'The nightclub played rock, hip-hop, jazz, indie and even soul.'

In this example, a colon is not used because 'The nightclub played' does not make sense on its own.

 

 

2. To make a reader take notice of a point because it is on its own, or to reveal something to the reader.

'We were all waiting for the hero of the evening: John.'

'The cat's fur was found in two rooms: the bedroom and the kitchen.'

'I know what's wrong with her: she's in love.'

Which punctuation mark is required in the gaps?

 

 

 

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 
 

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 

 

Look at the sentence below. Which comma needs replacing with a semi-colon?
 

'Sam was happy that his team won the championship, however, Sarah was still angry about what Sam and the coach had done to her.'

The first comma

The second comma

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?

 

'I've seen lots of insects in the garden__ ants, a cockroach, and a rat.'
 
 

 

Semi-colon

Colon

There is a punctuation mark missing in this sentence.

Semi-colon

Colon

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?


 
 
 

 

Semi-colon

Colon

Look at the sentence below. What punctuation is missing?

 

I know how I’m going to handle this I’m going to hide!

Semi-colon

Colon

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?

 

To make the perfect jam sandwich you need three things _ some bread, butter and strawberry jam.

 

Semi-colon

Colon

Insert either a semi-colon or a colon in the correct place in the following sentence.


 
This school always gets good grades for technology the students perform well in the arts, too.

 

 

Semi-colon

Colon

  • Question 1

Which punctuation mark is required in the gaps?

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon is the correct punctuation mark to use when separating longer phrases in a list.
  • Question 2

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 
 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon is required here in order to link these closely related independent clauses.
  • Question 3

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A colon is required here to provide an explanation and place emphasis on the word 'determination'.
  • Question 4

Look at the sentence below. Which comma needs replacing with a semi-colon?
 

'Sam was happy that his team won the championship, however, Sarah was still angry about what Sam and the coach had done to her.'

CORRECT ANSWER
The second comma
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be inserted before the word 'however' in order to join the two clauses.
  • Question 5

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?

 

'I've seen lots of insects in the garden__ ants, a cockroach, and a rat.'
 
 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Colon
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be used here to introduce the list.
  • Question 6

There is a punctuation mark missing in this sentence.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be inserted here to introduce the quotation. You’re making great progress!
  • Question 7

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?


 
 
 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon is the right choice, as it's closely linked to the first clause. Are you feeling more confident?
  • Question 8

Look at the sentence below. What punctuation is missing?

 

I know how I’m going to handle this I’m going to hide!

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be inserted here to provide an explanation to the first part of the sentence.
  • Question 9

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?

 

To make the perfect jam sandwich you need three things _ some bread, butter and strawberry jam.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Colon
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be used here to introduce a list of items.
  • Question 10

Insert either a semi-colon or a colon in the correct place in the following sentence.


 
This school always gets good grades for technology the students perform well in the arts, too.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be inserted in this instance as the two clauses are closely related but the second one doesn't explain the first. Well done, that’s another activity completed!
---- OR ----

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