First off, the semicolon ( ; ) is
not interchangeable with a colon ( : ). Colons are useful
for introducing lists, for example. "The spring flowers came in
three colours: yellow, white and red."
You might also use a colon to set
off an important word or expression. "The reason he is in jail is
A semicolon has a number of uses,
but the most important one is to separate two related but
independent clauses. The most common construction looks this way:
"He started as an apprentice; however, soon he earned his
Learning to use the semicolon and
colon correctly offers a writer the opportunity to communicate
with greater clarity and efficiency. Use them well!
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