Monthly Archives: March 2012

How to Use English Punctuation Correctly (2)


Use the semicolon and colon properly.

The semicolon ( ; ) has a few uses.
Use a semicolon to separate two related but independent clauses. Note that, if the two clauses are very wordy or complex, it is better to use a period (full stop) instead.

People continue to worry about the future;our failure to conserve resources has put the world at risk.

Use a semicolon to separate a complex series of items, especially those that contain commas.
I went to the show with Jake, my close friend; his friend, Jane; and her best friend, Jenna.

The colon ( : ) has multiple uses.
Use the colon to introduce a list. Be careful not to use a colon when denoting a regular series. sually, the word following suggests the use of a colon. Use only after a full sentence which ends in a noun.
The professor has given me three options:to retake the exam, to accept the extra credit assignment, or to fail the class.

INCORRECT – The Easter basket contained: Easter eggs, chocolate rabbits, and other candy.

Did you know … ?


English is the language of navigation, aviation and of Christianity; it is the ecumenical language of the World Council of Churches.

Over 400 million people use the English vocabulary as a mother tongue, only surpassed in numbers, but not in distribution by speakers of the many varieties of Chinese.

Over 700 million people, speak English, as a foreign language.