Like colons, semicolons shouldn’t be used to connect more than two clauses and you don’t capitalize the first word of the second clause. That means they’re for use whenever you’re dealing with two complete ideas that would stand alone as a sentence. And lastly, colons can be utilized to separate two impartial clauses.

how to use ;

Writing an inventory sounds easy, however there are a number of punctuation marks you need. Start it with a phrase and a colon to introduce the list. In this occasion, think of colons as saying, “Here’s what I mean.” What’s about to come back after the colon is meant to additional illustrate no matter was talked about earlier than the colon. A colon, on the other hand, ought to be used for a stronger, extra direct relationship. It ought to provide emphasis, an example, or an evidence.

Use Commas To Set Off Direct Quotations

Use a semicolon to separate units of a collection when one or more of the units contain commas. Avoid a semicolon when a dependent clause comes earlier than an independent clause. A semicolon can replace a interval if the author wishes to narrow the gap between two intently linked sentences. It’s no accident that a semicolon is a interval atop a comma. Like commas, semicolons point out an audible pause—slightly longer than a comma’s, however in need of a interval’s full stop. Notice that the letter following the semicolon just isn’t capitalized.

For a while, the British have been utilizing a colon where most Americans would use a semicolon. Many grammarians insist on a refined distinction between the 2 marks, nonetheless, irrespective of which side of the Atlantic you live on. According to this practice of thought, semicolons should link unbiased clauses when there’s a need for more separation than a comma would provide however not fairly so much as a interval would impose. Semicolons ought to introduce evidence or a cause for the previous assertion; for instance, this sentence appropriately uses a semicolon. However, an em sprint can substitute for a colon used to separate further info on the finish of a sentence.


Each item in the list accommodates commas itself, so utilizing commas to separate the gadgets would lead to ambiguity. This might go away you wondering when you ought to use a colon or a semicolon to connect two unbiased clauses. If the two clauses are merely associated, not essentially sequential in thought, use a semicolon.

  • However, a semicolon may be used as a substitute of a interval to separate two primary clauses that are carefully linked in which means or that express a clear contrast.
  • Those marks serve totally different purposes and are further explained in other sections.
  • Don’t want tons of of grammar, punctuation, and English usage quizzes all at once?
  • And there’s nothing as painful as a comma splice.

Most newspapers — and all that follow AP type — insert an area earlier than and after the em dash. The em sprint is usually used without spaces on both side, and that is the fashion used on this guide. Most newspapers, however, set the em dash off with a single space on both sides. Two em dashes can be utilized to indicate missing parts 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 growing frequency in recent times. In most instances, we mark the tip of a main clause with a interval. However, a semicolon could also be used as an alternative of a interval to separate two main clauses which are closely connected in which means or that express a clear distinction. Also, as a result of in each case the two clauses are quick and contain no other marks of punctuation, a comma might substitute the semicolon. Strictly talking, nonetheless, that may result in acomma splice, which would bother some readers . That stated, semicolons can also be used to separate objects in a collection containing commasto distinguish each merchandise from the subsequent group of items.

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