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Consolidate Understanding of Colons and Semi-Colons

In this worksheet, students will revise the functions of the colon and semi-colon in order to use them effectively in their writing.

'Consolidate Understanding of Colons and Semi-Colons' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Writing

Curriculum subtopic:   Use Accurate Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Using semicolons and colons accurately can add different effects to your writing and demonstrate a sophisticated use of punctuation.

[Semicolon made of balloons]


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

1. To separate two independent clauses in a compound sentence that are about similar themes. Here it effectively replaces conjunction, in linking 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 as opposed to single words.

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


The colon (:) is another punctuation mark which can enhance and improve your writing if used correctly. 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.'


That was a lot of information to take in, let's attempt ten questions to consolidate your knowledge!

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