Semicolon vs Colon
Knowing the difference between semicolon and colon is of great importance when using the English language. 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 punctuation marks, colon and semicolon. Now, according to the history, the word colon has its origins in the mid 16th century. The word semi means half. Therefore, semicolon means half of the colon. From the two, it is interesting to note that the use of the semicolon correctly is the more problematic task in the English language for its users.
What is a Semicolon?
Semicolon is often used instead of the 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 a close connection. Observe the sentences given below.
Some people sing well; others dance well.
You are a good person; you need to adjust with him well.
In both of the sentences, you can see that there are two fragments that 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 a close connection between them.
For more information about the punctuation mark semicolon, have a look at this definition given by the Oxford English dictionary. Semicolon is “a punctuation mark (;) indicating a pause, typically between two main clauses, that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.”
What is a Colon?
Colon, on the other hand, is often used before explanations or reasons as in the sentence given below.
We had to drop our tour plan finally: 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 a 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 a colon before a list as in the following example.
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.
Now, for better understanding about the colon here is the definition given to colon by the Oxford English dictionary. Colon is “a punctuation mark (:) used to precede a list of items, a quotation, or an expansion or explanation.”
What is the difference between Semicolon and Colon?
• Semicolon is often used instead of the full stop in cases where sentences are grammatically full and independent.
• The sentences separated by a semicolon should have a close connection.
• Colon, on the other hand, is often used before explanations or reasons.
• Sometimes we use a colon before a list .
These are the differences between the two punctuation marks, namely semicolon and colon.
PETER TONG says
I’m still unsure. To avoid making a fool of myself when writing, can I not simply use separate sentences? Or a hyphen?