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Home > Language > Grammar > Semicolon and Colon Compared

Difference Between Semicolon and Colon

Semicolon vs Colon

Semicolon and Colon are punctuation marks that should be used with precision in order to convey the correct sense. It is hence very important to distinguish between the two. Semicolon is often used instead of full stop in cases where sentences are grammatically full and independent. One of the important rules in relation to the application of a semicolon is that the sentences separated by it should have close connection.

Observe the sentences

1. Some people sing well; others dance well.

2. You are a good person; you need to adjust with him well.

In both the sentences you can see that there are two fragments which are full and grammatically independent. Hence these fragments are connected by a semicolon. In fact these fragments are nicely connected by means of an idea as well. Always remember that the two sentences that are separated by a semicolon should necessarily have close connection between them.

Colon on the other hand is often used before explanations or reasons as in the sentence

We had to finally drop our tour plan: we were unable to find suitable dates.

In the sentence given above you can see that a colon is used just before an explanation or a reason for the tour not coming off. Hence in case you give an explanation or a reason for some happening then you should not use semicolon but you should use a colon between the happening and the explanation. This is an important rule in the case of the application of a colon.

Sometimes we use colon before a list as follows

The points of discussion were: a…..b….c…..

You can see in the sentence given above that the points of discussions were preceded by a colon. These are the differences between the two punctuation marks, namely semicolon and colon.


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