Colons and semicolons are two types of punctuation. Colons (:) are used in sentences to introduce that something follows like a quotation, example or a list. Semicolons (;) are used to join two independent clauses, to separate main clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb or to separate items in a list that already uses commas. Still confused?
Check out the YourDictionary Punctuation Jungle infographic on punctuation for an easy-to-understand visual explanation.
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Colons Used in Sentences
- There are two choices at this time: run away or fight.
- We knew who would win the game: the Eagles
- He wanted to see three cities in Italy: Rome, Florence and Venice
- Remember: Two can play at that game.
- She kept repeating: “I really want that car!”
- Barry wanted to know why I didn’t respond to his text: I hadn’t received it.
- Here are three states that begin with M: Michigan, Mississippi and Maine.
- You can come pick me up now: I am feeling much better.
- Never forget this point: Think before you speak.
- This house has everything I need: two bedrooms, a backyard and a garage.
- The town reminded me of my childhood vacations: both were on the beach.
- I have several favorite genres of movies: drama, science fiction and mystery.
- This was first said by Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true.”
- I bought a lot of meat at the store: bacon, turkey, chicken and tuna.
- The world is a stage: play your role well.
- The new boss has many nice traits: friendly, outgoing and fair.
- These are my favorite colors: purple, turquoise, pink and yellow.
Semicolons in Sentences
- Dad is going bald; his hair is getting thinner and thinner.
- I really like beef, with mushroom sauce; pasta, with Alfredo sauce; and salad, with French dressing.
- You should stop eating so much food; you will have to go on a diet.
- You need new brakes; otherwise you may not be able to stop in time.
- Star Trek was my favorite television show during the 1960s; in fact, it is my favorite television show of all time.
- I had a huge meal; however, I am already hungry again.
- The Christmas ornaments are finally packed away: small, shiny ones; big, bright ones; and the homemade ones.
- She had self-defense training; consequently she warded off the assailant.
- We had students from Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; and Caracas, Venezuela.
- We had too many fumbles; we lost the game.
- I know you don’t like broccoli; nevertheless it is very good for you.
- Michelle drives a Jaguar; Sonya drives a Porsche.
- I have finished the main course; now I have to make dessert.
- Spring brings gentle rains and warmer weather; in addition to thunderstorms and hail.
- She calls it the bathroom; I call it the loo.
- Mom wants the chores completed; moreover she wants them done properly.
- I will be there as soon as I finish working; that is a promise I will definitely keep.
- She didn’t see the other car coming; now her car has a huge dent.
- There is mounting evidence of global warning; of course some people will never believe it.
For more information on how to use colons and the six key rules for colon usage, check out the YourDictionary article entitled Grammar Colon Usage. For information on using semicolons, colons and commas, check out the usage tips given in What Are the Fourteen Punctuation Marks in English Grammar?