Main Differences Between Colon and Semicolon

Colon vs Semicolon

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

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

On the other hand, we use semicolon to connect two independent clauses to show a 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 a colon after narrator and place narrated speech in inverted commas e.g.

·         Teacher said: “Are you ready for the 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 two phrases are interrelatted 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 a first clause for making complete sense e.g.

·         I didn’t have time to get dressed: I was in a 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 the first clause, we generally talk about item and in the 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 apple; second is orange; third is apricot; and last is banana. 

Hope you have learned a lot about use of colon and semicolon. Stay connected for happy learning.