Skip to content

Colons and Semi-Colons

The .pdf version of this page may be more helpful.

; Semicolons ;

Separating items in a series that include other punctuation

  • The child’s painting contained three colors: green, for the grass; blue, for the sky; and red, for the fire truck.

Linking closely related clauses

  • I walked home from school today; it was cold.

Linking closely related clauses with conjunctive adverbs or transitional phrases

  • The student cheated on the test; therefore, he should fail.
  • My sister really likes fruit; in fact, she likes it so much that she would rather have peaches than cookies for dessert.

Some Conjunctive Adverbs

Also Indeed  Now
Anyway Instead Otherwise
Besides Likewise  Similarly
Certainly Meanwhile Still
Finally Moreover  Then
Furthermore  Namely Therefore
However Nevertheless Thus
Incidentally  Next  

Some Conjunctive Adverbs

As a result    In other words
As soon as   In short
For example  In the meantime
For instance Of course
Granted that On the other hand
In addition On the whole
In conclusion

To summarize

In fact  

: Colons :

Introducing explanations, examples, or quotations

  • The men were dressed alike: tee shirts, blue jeans and tennis shoes.
  • Theodore Roosevelt is remembered for his foreign policy: “Walk softly but carry a big stick.”

Introducing series or lists

  • Tom played several sports in high school: football, hockey, soccer, and lacrosse.
  • I have several classes this semester: Calculus, Art, Biology, English, and History.