# 12. Punctuation -- The Colon and Semicolon
- The colon introduces the following:
- A list, but only after "as follows," "the following," or a noun for which the list is an appositive:
Each scout will carry the following: (colon) meals for three days, a survival knife, and his sleeping bag.
The company had four new officers: (colon) Bill Smith, Frank Tucker, Peter Fillmore, and Oliver Lewis.
- A long quotation (one or more paragraphs):
In The Killer Angels Michael Shaara wrote: (colon)
You may find it a different story from the one you learned in school. There have been many versions of that battle [Gettysburg] and that war [the Civil War].
(The quote continues for two more paragraphs.)
- A formal quotation or question:
The President declared: (colon) "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." The question is: (colon) what can we do about it?
- A second independent clause which explains the first:
Potter's motive is clear: (colon) he wants the assignment.
- After the introduction of a business letter:
Dear Sirs: (colon)Dear Madam: (colon)
- The details following an announcement
For sale: (colon) large lakeside cabin with dock
- A formal resolution, after the word "resolved:"
Resolved: (colon) That this council petition the mayor.
- The words of a speaker in a play:
Macbeth: (colon) She should have died hereafter.
- The colon separates the following:
- Parts of a title, reference, or numeral:
Principles of Mathematics: (colon) An IntroductionLuke 3: (colon)4-138: (colon)15 a.m.
- The place of publication from the publisher, and the volume number from the pages in bibliographies:
Miller, Jonathan, The Body in Question. New York: (colon) Random House, 1978.
Jarchow, Elaine. "In Search of Consistency in Composition Scoring." English Record 23.4 (1982): (colon) 18--19.
- Semicolons can join closely related independent clauses which are not joined by a coordinating conjunction.
Since the mid-1970's America's campuses have been relatively quiet; (semicolon)Â today's students seem interested more in courses than causes.
- Semicolons punctuate two independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb.
On weekdays the club closes at eleven; (semicolon) however, on weekends it's open until one.
- Semicolons punctuate clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction when the clauses have commas within them.
Today people can buy what they need from department stores, supermarkets, and discount stores; (semicolon) but in Colonial days, when such conveniences did not exist, people depended on general stores and peddlers.
- Semicolons punctuate items in a series when there are commas within the series.
At the alumni dinner, I sat with the school's best-known athlete, Gary Wyckoff; (semicolon) the editor of the paper; (semicolon) two stars of the class play, a fellow and a girl who later married each other; (semicolon) and Tad Frump, the class clown.
July 14, 2010