Colon vs Semicolon | Punctuation Marks

Colon vs Semicolon | Punctuation Marks

Difference between colon and semicolon in English

Colon vs Semicolon

Colon and semicolon are confusing punctuation marks in English grammar and sometime students get stuck to choose correct one. In this article student will learn about main differences between colon and semicolon and correct use of both punctuation marks.

We use colon between two clauses where second clause is explained by first clause or in first clause we talk about list and in second clause we elaborate that list.

On the other hand we use semicolon to connect two independent clauses to show  relationship between them. In simple words we use semicolon to join two statements which are linked in meaning.

Main differences between colon and semicolon

We use colon when a character direct speech is narrated by someone and we place colon after narrator and place narrated speech in inverted commas e.g.

  • Teacher said: “Are you ready for test?”

We use semicolon when we want to make a pause to put emphasis on following statement e.g.

  • The coconut tree gives us oil; it provides us food; it gives us rope and many other things.

When to phrases are interrelated in meanings, we use semicolon e.g.

  • When there is pin-drop silence; no noise and disturbance, then this time is perfect for study.
  • Jane always has a stick with her; she is afraid of dogs.

We use colon when second clause depends on first clause for making complete sense e.g.

  • I didn’t have time to get dressed: I was in hurry.
  • There is only one personality to whom I love too much: My mother.

We use colon to talk about a list of multiple items. In first clause we generally talk about item and in second clause we describe items individually

  • I love many fruits: apple, banana, grapes, mangoes.
  • I am studying three novels: Henry’s Diary, Serial-51, and Othello.

Sometime both punctuation marks, colon and semicolon, are used together in a single sentence as in sentence given below:

  • There are four fruits on the table: one is an apple; second is an orange; third is an apricot; and last is a banana. 

Hope you have learned a lot about use of colon and semicolon. Stay connected for happy learning. To learn more about punctuation marks click here