# 17.3: Semicolons and Colons

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## Semicolons

A semicolon is can be used in three different types of sentence structures.

• To join two independent clauses.
Example: Several environmental organizations recognized the treaty; few endorsed it.
• To join two independent clauses when a conjunctive adverb is used.
Example: Several environmental organizations recognized the treaty; however, few endorsed it.
• To separate items in a list if the items in the list already necessitate a comma.
Example: She has a son, Mike Nach, of Arizona; a daughter, Emily Rosa, of Colorado; and a sister, Sara Evans, of Minnesota

## Colons

Colons are used to draw attention to certain words. They are used after an independent clause to direct attention to a list, appositive, or quotation. They are used between independent clauses when the second clause summarizes or emphasizes the first clause or after the greeting in a formal letter.

Case Example Note
List
• I have three sisters: Catherine, Sarah, and Mary.
• The sandwich requires several ingredients: bread, butter, cheese, ham, and tomatoes.
Appositive My mom just won an award: Mom of the Year.
Answers the question There was only one possible explanation: The train had never arrived.
Quotation Homer Simpson is famous for his grunted expression: "Doh!"
Between independent clauses Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get.
Introduction of a definition Hypernym of a word: a word having a wider meaning than the given one. Is a special case of appositive.
In a dialogue
• Patient: Doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains.
• Doctor: Pull yourself together!
Separation of title from subtitle Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Separation of the chapter and the verse numbers of religious scriptures
• John 3:14–16 (or John III:14–16)
• The Qur'an, Sura 5:18
Separation within time of the day
• The concert finished at 23:45.