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Colon and Semicolon Punctuation in Writing

COLON and SEMICOLON:

The proper use of the colon and semicolon as punctuation in written works.


COLON:
The colon is used:

a)   To introduce a list.
Example:

You will have to order several accessory components: chargers, cases, cords, cables, and speakers.   

b)    To introduce an extract or quotation that follows an introductory sentence. 
Example:  


As Author, Erica Jong, stated: “If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”  

c)    In the salutation of a formal business letter.
Example:  

            Dear Sir:                 Dear Madam:  

d)   Between figures denoting hours and minutes, with exception to the 24-hour clock system.
Examples:  

                           1820 hrs.       

e)   To precede an extended explanation.
Example:

There are two conditions that must exist before we can experience true freedom: first, each person must be entitled to act independently of the other; second, each must agree not cross those parameters that have been set in place as protection from harm.    

f)     To precede a restatement of an idea.
Example:

The play was poorly performed: it lacked both experience and characterization from the actors.        

        

SEMICOLON:
While the comma is frequently used, the following are the general accepted rules for the use of the semicolon.

a)   To separate two independent thoughts in a sentence that otherwise would have been separated by using a conjunction such as and or but. 
Example:  

It was the first of April; all the spring lines were on display.

  * A comma separating these thoughts would not provide a distinct enough pause.

b)   To precede the words “for example,” “for instance,” “as in,” etc. in sentences. 
Example:  

The course will include role-playing which demonstrates the practical application for anger management skills learned; for example, a boss employee conflict, a spousal argument, and a situation of a misbehaved child with a parent.  

c)    To separate items in a long list, especially when commas have already been used.
Example: 
 

      Please place the following orders with the restaurant for our breakfast meeting: 
two boiled eggs, sausages, toast and coffee; eggs benedict with a side order of hash browns, tea and orange juice; and two pancakes with one egg cooked over easy and coffee.


    * First, a colon is used to indicate "the following orders," then the semicolons are used within the list itself.




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