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2.6: Practice Activities- Commas, Semicolons, and Colons

  • Page ID
    182822
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    Commas and Semicolon

    Read the following sentences. Determine if the empty spaces need a semicolon, a comma, or no punctuation. Type your answers in the text frame below:

    Pyura_spinifera-1024x768.jpg
    Sea Tulips

    Pyura spinifera __ commonly called the sea tulip __ is a species of ascidian that lives in coastal waters at depths of up to 260 feet. As with almost all other ascidians __ sea tulips are filter feeders. Its name comes from the organism’s appearance __ it looks like a knobby “bulb” or flower attached to a long stalk. Sea tulips come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, orange, and purple __ note that __ the coloration of sea tulips depends upon their association with a symbiotic sponge that covers their surface.

    You may spot this in ocean waters near Sydney __ Australia __ Central Coast __ Australia __ and Newcastle__ Australia.

    [practice-area rows=”4″][/practice-area]
    [reveal-answer q=”600237″]Show Answers[/reveal-answer]
    [hidden-answer a=”600237″]

    Pyura spinifera _,_ commonly called the sea tulip _,_ is a species of ascidian that lives in coastal waters at depths of up to 260 feet. As with almost all other ascidians _,_ sea tulips are filter feeders. Its name comes from the organism’s appearance _;_ it looks like a knobby “bulb” or flower attached to a long stalk. Sea tulips come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, yellow, orange, and purple _;_ note that _(none)_ the coloration of sea tulips depends upon their association with a symbiotic sponge that covers their surface.

    You may spot this in ocean waters near Sydney _,_ Australia _;_ Central Coast _,_ Australia _;_ and Newcastle _,_ Australia.

    [/hidden-answer]

    Semicolons and Colons

    Are the semicolons and colons used correctly in the following sentences? Write your corrections and comments in the text frame below. The sentences have been numbered to aid in your comments.

    Main Antikythera mechanism fragment. The mechanism consists of a complex system of 30 wheels and plates with inscriptions relating to signs of the zodiac, months, eclipses and pan-Hellenic games.(1) The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analogue computer likely used for several purposes including: predicting astronomical positions and eclipses and calculating Olympiads: the cycles of the ancient Olympic Games. (2) The device is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears. (3) Its remains were found as one lump; it was recovered from a shipwreck, and the device was originally housed in a wooden box. (4) This lump was later separated into 82 separate fragments after extensive conservation work.

    (5) The artifact was recovered probably in July 1901 from the Antikythera shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera. (6) Believed to have been designed and constructed by Greek scientists; the instrument has recently been dated to 205 BC. (7) After the knowledge of this technology was lost at some point in antiquity, technological artifacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the development of mechanical astronomical clocks in Europe in the fourteenth century.

    (8) All known fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are kept at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens.

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    [reveal-answer q=”201258″]Show Answer[/reveal-answer]
    [hidden-answer a=”201258″]There are two colons in sentence one. The first colon is incorrect: a colon that introduces a list must be preceded by a complete idea. Removing the colon is the easiest solution. (Another solution would be to change the sentence so it reads “. . . several purposes, including the following: predicting . . . .”

    The second colon in sentence 1 is technically correct, as the colon introduces a clarification on the first part of the sentence. However, the colon places an importance on the definition of Olympiads that is not necessary. The focus of this passage is the Antikythera. Using a comma or parentheses to set off the definition would be more appropriate.

    Sentence three is two complete ideas joined by a semicolon. The sentence is technically correct. However, the second idea explains why the first is true (the artifact was found as a single lump because it was encased in wood that rotted around it). A colon might fit better in this instance.

    In sentence six, the semicolon is misused. It is preceded by the incomplete idea “Believed to have been designed and constructed by Greek scientists.” There is only a verb, not a subject, so it can’t stand on its own. The semicolon should be replaced by a comma.

    [/hidden-answer]

    Colons

    Is the colon used correctly in the following sentences? If not, write the corrected sentence in the text frame below.

    1. There are three methods of attracting earthworms from the ground: worm charming, worm grunting, and worm fiddling.
    2. The activity can be performed: to collect bait for fishing or as a competitive sport.
    3. As a skill and profession worm charming is now very rare: with the art being passed through generations to ensure that it survives.
    4. In most competitions, the collector of the most worms in a set time is declared as the winner: they usually have a zone in which to perform their charming, measuring three yards square.
    5. The activity is known by several different names and the apparatus and techniques vary significantly: (1) Most worm charming methods involve vibrating the soil, which encourages the worms to the surface, (2) Worm grunting generally refers to the use of a “stob,” a wooden stake that is driven into the ground, and a rooping iron, which is used to rub the stob, (3) Worm fiddling also uses a wooden stake but utilizes a dulled saw which is dragged along its top.

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    [reveal-answer q=”201255″]Show Answer[/reveal-answer]
    [hidden-answer a=”201255″]

    1. Correct. A colon is used before a list.
    2. Incorrect. A colon needs an independent clause before or after it.
      • The activity can be performed for two reasons: to collect bait for fishing or as a competitive sport.
      • The activity can be performed to collect bait for fishing or as a competitive sport.
    3. Incorrect. A colon needs an independent clause before or after it. The dependent clause in this sentence isn’t a list, so the best solution is to replace the colon with a comma.
      • As a skill and profession worm charming is now very rare, with the art being passed through generations to ensure that it survives.
    4. Incorrect. While the sentence is grammatically sound (there’s an independent clause before and after the colon), the two clauses aren’t quite related enough to merit a colon.
    5. Correct. A colon is used before a list. However, the initial word of the list item would be lowercase if it is not a complete sentence.

    [/hidden-answer]

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