A Colon Does Not a Semi-Colon Make Uncategorized / Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Guess what? There is a big difference between a colon and a semi-colon. they are not the same thing and they are not interchangeable.

I saw a graduate student’s work recently. He did not know that a semi-colon joins two independent clauses and that a colon is good for when you are listing things or want to point something out.

For example, one might write the following:

Action movies are exciting; they are full of movement.

Did you notice that I used a colon when introducing the sentence that preceded the example? After that, I used a semi-colon to connect two independent clauses. The sentence about the action movies had two perfectly good sentences (aka independent clauses) that I joined together with a semi-colon.

Do NOT write the following:

Action movies are exciting for one reason; full of movement and sense of fun.

Those are NOT two independent clauses. However, you could say:

Action movies are exciting for two reasons: movement and sense of fun.

Do you see the difference? Do let me know if you have any questions; I am happy to guide you along the written path.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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