Using semi-colons and colons accurately can add different effects to your writing and demonstrate sophisticated use of punctuation.
[Semi-colon 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.'
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