G9 Semicolon and Colon
The punctuation mark that comes nearest in function to the semicolon is the period. But whereas a
period keeps two statements apart as separate sentences, a semicolon shows that two statements within
one sentence are intimately related. When one statement is a consequence of another or contrasts
sharply with it, you can bring out that tight connection by joining them with a semicolon instead of
with a comma and a coordinating conjunction.
1. Use a semicolon between the clauses of a compound sentence if the coordinate conjunction is
The polls close at eight; we must hurry.
2. Use a semicolon before conjunctive adverbs like however, moreover, nevertheless, or thus
when they connect the clauses of a compound sentence. To mark a pause after the conjunctive
adverb, insert a comma. (Exception: No comma is necessary if the conjunctive adverb is one
I shall try to convince him; however, I am not hopeful.
Frank often arrives late to work; still he is a valuable employee.
3. Use semicolons to separate items in a series if there are commas within the items.
Winners are Ted Dixon, Bedford, Virginia; Bert Wallace, Aiken, South Carolina; and Nicholas
Brown, Roxboro, North Carolina.
4. Use a colon before listed items introduced by such words as the following, as follows, thus, or
these. Do not use a colon before predicate nominatives or objects.
Right: He visited these places: Peru, Chile, and Ecuador.
Right: I want an assistant who can do the following: input data, write reports, and
complete tax forms.
Wrong: He visited: Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. (direct objects)
Wrong: The countries visited are: Peru, Chile, and Ecuador. (predicate nominatives)
5. Make sure you have a complete statement before a colon.
Like a semicolon, a colon must be preceded by a complete statement. But remember that unlike
a semicolon, a colon need not be followed by a whole statement.
Right: Occupations involving animals interest me: marine biologist, dog trainer,
Wrong: Occupations that interest me: marine biologist, dog trainer, veterinarian.
6. Use a colon instead of a semicolon between two strong clauses when the second clause explains
or illustrates the first clause and no coordinating conjunction is being used to connect the
clauses. If only one sentence follows the colon, do not capitalize the first word of the new
sentence. If two or more sentences follow the colon, capitalize the first word of each sentence
His intention is clear: he does not plan to return.
Garlic is used in Italian cooking: It enhances the flavor of pasta dishes. It also enhances the
flavor of eggplant.
G9 Practice Name__________________
Complete the sentences below by correctly inserting commas, semi-colons, and/or colons.
1. Tuition fees are tax deductible entertainment expenses are not.
2. The following players are on the varsity basketball team Andrew Mark and Eric.
3. Monica was very disappointed in her performance nevertheless she was a gracious loser.
4. Although I have never been to South Africa I have always wanted to travel there.
5. Jason who is the youngest in the family was born August 12 1988.
6. Alisson didn't feel well she came to school anyway.
7. It was a hot windy day but I still spent the afternoon working in the garden.
8. When she asked if he was hungry Joe replied "I'm starved."
9. I planted shade evergreen and flowering trees short tall and medium shrubs and red yellow
and white roses.
10. Over the summer I want to clean the following places the garage the shed and the closet.
11. Some people get an education without going to college the rest get it after they get out.
12. Robin wanted to stay however she knew her parents would not like it if she did.
13. Heather enrolled in calculus French history and AP English.
14. The teacher glanced at Mike who appeared to be sleeping and said "I sure hope I'm not
keeping any of you up past your bedtimes."
15. The Silver Maple is a tall graceful tree. Its wood is soft. It is susceptible to wind damage.
16. During the last three summers Juan has worked at the following fast food chains Burger
King Wendy's and Arby’s.
17. Kendra never liked dogs she preferred to own a cat.
18. Nick who was trying to pretend he didn't care became so flustered that his bright red face
gave away his true feelings.
19. Subjects in school that I like are mathematics biology and gym.
20. We have seen the enemy he is us.
21. I really respect you however I think we should just be friends.
22. The most exciting cities in the world are Paris France Sydney Australia and London
23. We invited delegates from several different departments Andy Cap Accounting Mary
Worth Human Resources Rex Morgan Health and Safety and Dick Tracy Security.
24. You aced the math test therefore you don’t have to work through this unit with the rest of