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Resources -> Punctuation -> Colon and Semi Colon

Colon and Semi Colon

Many English speakers are uncertain about the correct usage of the colon and the semi colon.

The colon ( : ) is a punctuation mark consisting of two dots one over the other whereas the semi colon ( ; ) consists of a dot above a comma.

In the majority of the cases, the colon is used to introduce a list of things while a semi colon is used to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out.

The following examples will make the usage clear.

COLON

SEMI COLON

I have packed my cricket kit with the equipment I need: bats, gloves and pads.

Sumit likes to play cricket; Amit likes to play soccer.

A man needs three things to survive: air, water and food.

I drank lemonade; Manish drank tea.

The following sentence will illustrate the use of both these punctuation marks -

I talked to four men: Amit, who is from Delhi; Manoj, who is from Lucknow; Vinod, who is from Mumbai; and Mohan, who is from Patna.