Semicolons, Colons and
Andrew Rohm, John Hagee
Bad grammar and poor punctuation is not a laughing matter.
A semicolon is used to separate complete ideas that could stand
alone as sentences; however, the ideas are related, so the author
wants to put them together.
• Independent Clauses
• A semicolon is used to separate complete ideas
that could stand alone as sentences; however,
the ideas are related, so the author wants to put
• Many times these independent clauses have
joining words between them:
• Also, finally, instead, besides, for
example, on the contrary, consequently,
however, still, even so, in addition,
I made it through my My grandmother seldom goes
exam; finally, my class to bed this early; she's afraid
is over. she'll miss out on something.
To help sort out a monster list:
• When a list contains
commas to separate items,
the parts of the sentence
should be separated by
There were citizens from Bangor, Maine; Hartford, Connecticut; Boston,
Massachusetts; and Newport, Rhode Island.
Last night, Leno’s guests included Mel Gibson, star of stage, screen and squad
car; Bertrand Russell, renown as the world champion of Philosophers; and
William Shakespeare, sometimes called the “Bard of Avon” or simply “Bard.”
Use a hyphen to form compound
The Definition: Two or more words are
acting as a single modifier for a noun.
The Clue: They belong together. They
are not part of a series that can
separately describe the noun.
I think Steve is a well-
NOTE: If you can remove
Steve is a helpful, supportive one of the descriptors from
the string, it is not a
The 20-year-old man was too compound modifier and so
young to buy alcohol. does not need hyphens
Colons are used to introduce whatever follows them in a sentence.
USE IN THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:
After a complete statement in order to introduce one or more directly related
ideas, such as a series of directions, a list, or a quotation or other
comment illustrating or explaining the statement.
• The daily newspaper contains four sections: news, sports, entertainment,
and classified ads.
• The strategies of corporatist industrial unionism have proven ineffective:
compromises and concessions have left labor in a weakened position in
the new "flexible" economy.
In a business letter greeting.
• Dear Ms. Winstead:
Between the hour and minutes in time notation.
• 5:30 p.m.
Between chapter and verse in biblical references.
• Genesis 1:18
• “The Tongue Untied, A Guide to Grammar, Punctuation and Style.”
University of Oregon . 3 July 2008
• “Brief Overview of Punctuation: Semicolon, Colon, Parenthesis, Dash,
Quotation Marks, and Italics.” Purdue University Online Writing Lab. 3 July
• “The Semicolon.” Guide to Grammar and Writing. 6 July 2008