Using Commas, Colons, Semicolons, Em

Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons Within Sentences

You appear to be referring to one sentence, not two, where the single sentence contains two independent clauses joined by however, not However. It is also preferable to use a comma after these words and terms.” Therefore, use a semicolon before however and a comma after. There should be commas after the words fathers and bosses. You would not say “these experiences produce different conscioiusness.” Perhaps you could reword to levels of consciousness. Our Dashes rule says, “Use an em dash sparingly in formal writing.” You could use parentheses instead. In this case, writing the independent clauses as two sentences separated by a period is correct. However, using a semicolon to combine the clauses can make your writing more interesting by creating a variety of sentence lengths and structures while preserving the flow of ideas.

If a sentence is constructed in the form of a question, it usually begins with a question word, such as is, are, did, does, do, where, who, why, when, what, was, were, would, could, or how. If a sentence begins with one of these words, it should end with a question mark.

After watching this lesson, you should be able to identify how to correctly use periods, colons, and semicolons to help a reader understand a piece of writing. Colons – Typically, these are used to expand an idea with a list of items or when joining two or more independent clauses. Learn how to use the colon and semicolon to separate two ideas within a sentence. See how the period is used and how it compares to colons and semicolons. Like colons, semicolons shouldn’t be used to connect more than two clauses and you do not capitalize the first word of the second clause. That means they’re to be used when you’re dealing with two complete thoughts that could stand alone as a sentence. I am trying to write job qualifications in a cover letter, paragraph style, but I am caught up on where I should put semi colons vs. commas.

The semicolon is also used between two independent clauses linked by a transitional expression (e.g., accordingly, consequently, for example, nevertheless, so, thus). Capitalize the first letter following a colon for a proper noun, the beginning of a quote, or the first letter of another independent clause. Do NOT capitalize if the information following the colon is not a complete sentence. Semicolons are bigger and they go with conjunctive adverbs and transitional phrases, which are almost always longer than three letters—bigger words, bigger punctuation. Finally, you use a semicolon when you use a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase to join two main clauses. Most commonly, they separate two main clauses that are closely related to each other but could stand on their own as sentences if you wanted them to.

Using Semicolons

Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction if the clauses are already punctuated with commas or if the clauses are lengthy. Use a semicolon to replace a comma when you use a coordinating conjunction to link independent clauses that already contain commas. Use a semicolon to separate two related independent clauses that are not linked by a comma and coordinating conjunction . Or other independent clauses to form longer sentences. When connecting two independent clauses you can use a comma with a conjunction or a semicolon. When you choose to use them is a decision of style, so let’s look at a few examples. A semicolon also links two clauses, but in the case of the semicolon, the clauses must both be independent clauses.

  • Yes, an ending punctuation mark, most likely a period, is needed.
  • Additionally, there should be two spaces after the colon.
  • Is used to join two sentences when they are very closely related and a conjunction becomes too wordy.
  • Use a semicolon between two independent clauses that are connected by conjunctive adverbs or transitional phrases.
  • On the SAT, a sentence may include an introductory dependent clause or phrase, and you have to select the proper punctuation that follows the introduction.
  • It is acceptable to use a colon and a semicolon in the same sentence.
  • Although exclamation marks don’t necessarily convey sarcasm, they can be used to indicate that tone of voice.

He came from a long line of hard times(;) from childhood extending into his young adult life. Your being’s fibres/fibers are speaking truth to you. Essentially, “hello” is a complete expression and should be followed by a period in your example. Could you tell me if you would put a comma before and in the following sentence. Use only one space following a colon no matter what. It’s not direct speech and flows naturally, without the comma, as a quote. 2) They could never have a comma in front of them .

Colon Punctuation

Most commonly, the semicolon is used between two independent clauses (i.e., clauses that could stand alone as separate sentences) when a coordinating conjunction is omitted. Immediately, we know that the semicolon is incorrect because the phrase after the semicolon can’t stand alone as a sentence. Now we have to determine the correct comma placement. Answer choices B and C are wrong because you can’t place a comma after a preposition. Answer choice D is correct; the comma separates the independent clause from the explanatory phrase.

Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons Within Sentences

I would try to reword the sentence to eliminate the question mark. Yes, the rule has changed or at least is changing so rapidly that I would suggest using only one space after the ending punctuation mark. I recenlty completed another degree, which required writing many papers and always used the 2 spaces. It is used only when a comma isn’t enough to set off the next part of the sentence. Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process.

The Most Important Rules And Strategies For Sat Punctuation

Only answer choice D removes both unnecessary commas. Many people incorrectly assume there should be a comma; however, in this sentence, “writer” is describing Malcolm Gladwell, and you can’t place a comma between an adjective and a noun. The three items on the list are “eating,” “watching Netflix,” and sleeping. Because there are three items, there are commas after the first two. The last comma in the list before “and,” known as the oxford comma, is technically optional, and you won’t be tested on whether or not to use it.

  • The colon is not used often and means “that is to say” or “here’s what I mean” .
  • Semicolons help you connect closely related ideas when a style mark stronger than a comma is needed.
  • The comma after “instance” is incorrect because the clauses before and after the comma are complete thoughts.
  • If a sentence is constructed in the form of a question, it usually begins with a question word, such as is, are, did, does, do, where, who, why, when, what, was, were, would, could, or how.
  • Using a semicolon in a text message generally would seem out of place to the recipient.
  • I have not been able to find an example showing comma usage between two independent clauses when the second clause begins with a weak clause or dependent clause.
  • Rhetorical and hypothetical questions are much more likely to appear in expository writing.

Lists that contain punctuation within individual items should be separated with semicolons instead of commas to prevent reader confusion. Semicolons can also be used as an alternative to periods when separating independent clauses with transitional expressions. The colon is a punctuation mark that has few but important places in sentence structures. Use a colon after an independent clause in order to introduce a list or qualifying description that cannot stand alone.

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In the example above, the semicolon is necessary because there is a complete thought on either side of the conjunctive adverb. Note that conjunctive adverbs also require a comma after them. Use a semicolon between related sentences when the second sentence starts with either a conjunctive adverb or a transitional expression. Use colons to introduce quotations after an independent clause.

  • A period can be exchanged for a semicolon in most cases.
  • In place of a comma to separate items in a series when the items already contain commas or when the items are long.
  • An exception is when the second clause clearly restates or supports the first clause.
  • You can use a semicolon to combine two closely related independent clauses without a coordinating or subordinating conjunction.
  • Technically, the semicolon could be replaced with a period, since each independent clause is a complete sentence.
  • It originated with typesetters during the manual printing press days.

As for the colon—well, unless you’re a surgeon, that one sounds downright scary. Be aware that a colon needs to be preceded by a complete independent clause, not a sentence fragment. A complex sentence has an independent clause and a dependent clause. (An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence, while a dependent clause cannot.) If the dependent clause comes first, there may be a comma between it and the independent clause. I might use a colon to introduce a list, or I might use a semicolon to divide a statement from its explanation. These elements help clarify my writing and allow me to vary my writing to make it more interesting. A colon can be used after an independent clause to introduce a list.

According to Rule 1 for semicolons, use a semicolon to separate two sentences where the conjunction has been left out. Rule 4 for colons says that if the second sentence explains or illustrates the first sentence, then a colon is used. Quite often it is the writer’s opinion that will determine which of the two is used. Use a colon to introduce an example or to further explain an idea presented in the first part of a sentence.

Colons To Introduce Examples Or Explanations

In this sentence, I went to the store and bought a number of items is an independent clause, so a colon precedes the list. By adding semicolons to the sentence, the writer’s meaning is clearer. The semicolons separate the people with their titles, so the reader can tell there are four people in the group. Use a semicolon in compound sentences that Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons Within Sentences do not have coordinating conjunctions. Use semicolons to replace commas when individual items in a series are long or contain commas. Use a semicolon instead of a comma to separate the items. To mark “bonus phrases.” Phrases that add information or clarify but are not necessary to the meaning of a sentence are ordinarily set off with commas.

Here’s an example sentence with the non-restrictive clause underlined. Now I’ll go over specific rules to help you determine when to use punctuation. Note that these videos were created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines. ServiceScape connects you with accomplished editors whose grammar expertise guarantees that your message is not lost or misunderstood when every word counts. Another comma use is separating multiple adjectives that apply to the same noun.

This may leave you wondering if you should use a colon or a semicolon to connect two independent clauses. If the two clauses are merely related, not necessarily sequential in thought, use a semicolon. However, if the two related clauses follow a sequence of thought, use a colon.

Such writing is more like creative writing, so it is possible you would use exclamation marks in this context. Be careful when using exclamation points at work, even in instant messages and email. In the workplace, exclamation marks can be seen as too casual or as unprofessional. It’s best to avoid sarcasm at work, so don’t use exclamation marks in an “ironic” way. Eight-year-old Johnny was reading a book about dinosaurs, and it brought up so many questions in his head. How is it that there could be land, sea, and air dinosaurs. They all seemed to be similar whereas the animals we have now all seem so different.

Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons Within Sentences

The em dash (—) is used to set off parenthetical information in a sentence. Using em dashes instead of parentheses puts the focus on the information between the em dashes. You can also use an em dash to set off an appositive that contains commas. An appositive is extra information added to a sentence for clarification.

I just wanted to clarify if this is the correct usage of a colon. I wanted to run these two paragraphs pass you and get your view as to which is the correct use of punctuations. Very much appreciated and I look forward to hearing from you. I am often late for school; I really should set my alarm clock, but I often fall asleep doing my homework. Spelling out numbers vs. using figures is often a matter of writer’s preference.

Semicolons Separate Phrases Or Items In A List Or Series

The style manuals do not address the concern of excessive colons. If you see anything distracting, the sentence should be rewritten. A colon may be used before quotation marks, however, the sentence is missing a question mark. We recommend using a colon to introduce a series or list.

Use dashes to set off important or surprising points. There should be no space between a dash and the words on either side. A comma is used to separate two or more adjectives that modify the same noun. A comma is used on both sides of additional information about a noun.

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There is no limit to the number of semicolons or colons you can have in a single sentence. However, I would recommend using only one of each and then starting a new sentence. With just one complete sentence following a colon, it is up to the writer whether to capitalize the first word of the new sentence following the colon. Punctuation within sentences can be tricky; however, if you know just a few of the following rules, you will be well on your way to becoming a polished writer and proofreader. When combined with a comma, the semicolon can be used in elliptical constructions. In this case, the comma serves as an ellipsis, eliminating the need to repeat an understood portion of the initial clause.

In writing a strategy statement, I had to combine many words in one sentence. I am struggling with what to do before the word “allowing.” Should I use a comma, semi-colon or nothing. It is my understanding that although using a semi-colon and colon in the same sentence may be grammatically correct, it may not be the best option.

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