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Consolidate Understanding of Colons and Semi-Colons

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

'Consolidate Understanding of Colons and Semi-Colons' 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.

Match the punctuation mark with the correct term.

Column A

Column B

colon
;
semi-colon
:

Which type of punctuation can be used to introduce a quotation or a list?

 

Write either colon or semi-colon in the box below.

Write out the whole of the sentence below, adding the missing punctuation mark.

 

English is my favourite subject I just love to write stories.

Which punctuation mark should be used to separate longer phrases, as opposed to single words, in a list?

colon

semi-colon

Write out the sentence below in full, adding the missing punctuation mark.

 

There are two types of Italian food that I love risotto and pizza.

Which punctuation mark should be used to separate two independent clauses in a compound sentence that are about similar things?

 

Write either colon or semi-colon in the box below.

Read the sentence below. Which type of punctuation is missing?

 

Mary's favourite dinner foods are chicken with cayenne pepper__ salad, with Italian dressing__ toast, with garlic and butter__ and soup, with ham, cheese and mushrooms.

semi-colon

colon

Write out the whole of the sentence below, adding the missing punctuation mark.

 

My cat is cute he loves to cuddle.

Which type of punctuation is missing from the sentence below?

 

At lunchtime Jill ate a huge meal__ sausages, bacon, mashed potato, carrots and peas.

semi-colon

colon

In the following sentence one of the commas needs to be replaced by a semi-colon. Write the sentence out again, putting a semi-colon in the correct place.

 

Shakespeare, a great dramatist, wrote an impressive number of plays, furthermore, he wrote many sonnets too.

  • Question 1

Match the punctuation mark with the correct term.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

colon
:
semi-colon
;
EDDIE SAYS
The best way to remember this rule is through the word ‘semi' which means ‘half’ or ‘part’.
  • Question 2

Which type of punctuation can be used to introduce a quotation or a list?

 

Write either colon or semi-colon in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
colon
EDDIE SAYS
A colon can be placed before a quotation to introduce it.
  • Question 3

Write out the whole of the sentence below, adding the missing punctuation mark.

 

English is my favourite subject I just love to write stories.

CORRECT ANSWER
English is my favourite subject; I just love to write stories.
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be used in this instance to join the two closely related independent clauses together.
  • Question 4

Which punctuation mark should be used to separate longer phrases, as opposed to single words, in a list?

CORRECT ANSWER
semi-colon
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be used when you are separating longer phrases in a list.
  • Question 5

Write out the sentence below in full, adding the missing punctuation mark.

 

There are two types of Italian food that I love risotto and pizza.

CORRECT ANSWER
There are two types of Italian food that I love: risotto and pizza.
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be used in this instance to create the effect of ‘revealing something’ to the reader.
  • Question 6

Which punctuation mark should be used to separate two independent clauses in a compound sentence that are about similar things?

 

Write either colon or semi-colon in the box below.

CORRECT ANSWER
semi-colon
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be used in this instance. Think of the semi-colon as having the ability to replace a conjunction in some circumstances.
  • Question 7

Read the sentence below. Which type of punctuation is missing?

 

Mary's favourite dinner foods are chicken with cayenne pepper__ salad, with Italian dressing__ toast, with garlic and butter__ and soup, with ham, cheese and mushrooms.

CORRECT ANSWER
semi-colon
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be used to separate items in a list when the items are long phrases as opposed to single words.
  • Question 8

Write out the whole of the sentence below, adding the missing punctuation mark.

 

My cat is cute he loves to cuddle.

CORRECT ANSWER
My cat is cute; he loves to cuddle.
EDDIE SAYS
A semi-colon should be inserted here to connect the two independent clauses as they are very closely linked.
  • Question 9

Which type of punctuation is missing from the sentence below?

 

At lunchtime Jill ate a huge meal__ sausages, bacon, mashed potato, carrots and peas.

CORRECT ANSWER
colon
EDDIE SAYS
A colon should be used when introducing a list of items, provided the first part of the sentence makes sense on its own. In this example 'At lunchtime Jill ate a huge meal' does make sense on its own so a colon is needed.
  • Question 10

In the following sentence one of the commas needs to be replaced by a semi-colon. Write the sentence out again, putting a semi-colon in the correct place.

 

Shakespeare, a great dramatist, wrote an impressive number of plays, furthermore, he wrote many sonnets too.

CORRECT ANSWER
Shakespeare, a great dramatist, wrote an impressive number of plays; furthermore, he wrote many sonnets too.
EDDIE SAYS
The semi-colon needs to be inserted after the word 'plays' as this marks the end of the first clause.
---- OR ----

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