Colons Vs Semicolons

Colons Vs Semicolons

Like colons, semicolons should not be used to attach greater than two clauses and you do not capitalize the primary word of the second clause. That means they’re for use whenever you’re coping with two full ideas that might stand alone as a sentence. And lastly, colons can be utilized to separate two independent clauses.

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Do not mistake the em dash (—) for the marginally narrower en sprint (–) or the even narrower hyphen (-). Those marks serve completely different purposes and are additional explained in other sections. Notwithstanding its versatility, the em dash is greatest limited to two appearances per sentence. Otherwise, confusion rather than readability is prone to end result. Semicolons symbolize two intently linked unbiased clauses.

Use Commas To Set Off Direct Quotations

Use a semicolon to separate units of a sequence when a number of of the items comprise commas. Avoid a semicolon when a dependent clause comes before an independent clause. A semicolon can exchange a period if the writer wishes to slender the hole between two closely linked sentences. It’s no accident that a semicolon is a interval atop a comma. Like commas, semicolons point out an audible pause—barely longer than a comma’s, but in need of a period’s full cease. Notice that the letter following the semicolon is not capitalized.

For a while, the British have been using a colon the place most Americans would use a semicolon. Many grammarians insist on a subtle distinction between the 2 marks, nonetheless, no matter which side of the Atlantic you live on. According to this prepare of thought, semicolons ought to link unbiased clauses when there’s a want for more separation than a comma would provide but not quite so much as a period would impose. Semicolons ought to introduce proof or a reason for the previous statement; for example, this sentence appropriately uses a semicolon. However, an em dash can substitute for a colon used to separate additional information on the end of a sentence.


Colons can do more than offset an extended, bulleted list. They can even separate two clauses and introduce a valuable quote. It’s unclear what the three listing items are, for the reason that objects are separated by commas. Use a semicolon between gadgets in an inventory or series if any of the objects include commas. Semicolons assist you to join carefully associated concepts when a style mark stronger than a comma is required. By using semicolons effectively, you may make your writing sound more refined.

  • As for semicolons, now you can be part of the ranks of grammarians who use them properly.
  • This is the same effect colons can have upon readers.
  • Essentially, a semicolon is sort of a comma with more meaning or a colon with extra flexibility.
  • A lot of writers have tailored the em dash to swimsuit their own purposes.

Most newspapers — and all that follow AP style — insert an area before and after the em dash. The em dash is usually used with out spaces on either side, and that is the style used on this information. Most newspapers, however, set the em dash off with a single space on both sides. Two em dashes can be used to indicate missing portions of a word, whether unknown or intentionally omitted. A pair of em dashes can replace a pair of parentheses.

The hyphen, double hyphen, and minus signal have been encroaching on the territory of the em dash with increasing frequency in recent years. In most cases, we mark the tip of a major clause with a interval. However, a semicolon could also be used as a substitute of a period to separate two main clauses which are intently related in meaning or that express a clear distinction. Also, because in each case the 2 clauses are quick and comprise no different marks of punctuation, a comma would possibly replace the semicolon. Strictly talking, however, that may result in acomma splice, which would trouble some readers . That mentioned, semicolons may also be used to separate gadgets in a sequence containing commasto distinguish each merchandise from the following group of items.

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