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Use Colons and Semi-Colons Accurately

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

'Use Colons and Semi-Colons Accurately' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Writing

Curriculum subtopic:  Use Accurate Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

Difficulty level:  

down

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.

 

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

 

1. To separate two independent clauses in a compound sentence when they are about similar things. Here it effectively replaces a conjunction 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 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 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?


 
Heartbreak High School is great for many things: the quality of the teaching _ the excellence of the buildings _ the wonderful cafeterias _ the intelligence and helpfulness of the pupils.


 

Select the correct option below.

semi-colon

colon

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 
Elephants live in hot countries __ they cool off by bathing.
 
 

Select the correct option below.

semi-colon

colon

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 
His success is attributed to one thing __ determination.

 

Select the correct option below.

semi-colon

colon

Write out the following sentence in full, correcting the punctuation.
 
 

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

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?


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

Select the correct option.

semi-colon

colon

There is a punctuation mark missing in this sentence. Write it out in full, adding either a colon or semi-colon.

 

 

As Oscar Wilde said 'Be yourself; everyone else is already taken'.

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?


 
It was serious __ she had broken her wrist.
 
 

Select the correct option.

semi-colon

colon

Write out this sentence in full, adding either a colon or semicolon.

 

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

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.


Select the correct option.

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.

  • Question 1

Which punctuation mark is required in the gaps?


 
Heartbreak High School is great for many things: the quality of the teaching _ the excellence of the buildings _ the wonderful cafeterias _ the intelligence and helpfulness of the pupils.


 

Select the correct option below.

CORRECT ANSWER
semi-colon
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?


 
Elephants live in hot countries __ they cool off by bathing.
 
 

Select the correct option below.

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

Which punctuation mark is required in the gap?


 
His success is attributed to one thing __ determination.

 

Select the correct option below.

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

Write out the following sentence in full, correcting the punctuation.
 
 

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
Sam was happy that his team won the championship; however, Sarah was still angry about what Sam and the coach had done to her.
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be inserted before the word 'however' 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.
 
 

Select the correct option.

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. Write it out in full, adding either a colon or semi-colon.

 

 

As Oscar Wilde said 'Be yourself; everyone else is already taken'.

CORRECT ANSWER
As Oscar Wilde said: 'Be yourself; everyone else is already taken'.
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be inserted here to introduce the quotation.
  • Question 7

Which type of punctuation is required in the gap?


 
It was serious __ she had broken her wrist.
 
 

Select the correct option.

CORRECT ANSWER
colon
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one. A colon is the better choice because the second part of the sentence is explaining why the situation was serious.
  • Question 8

Write out this sentence in full, adding either a colon or semicolon.

 

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

CORRECT ANSWER
I know how I'm going to handle this: I'm going to hide!
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.


Select the correct option.

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

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