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SEMICOLONS AND COLONS
Ellipsis Points | Dashes and Hyphens | Parentheses
* Capitalization * | Easily Confused Words
SEMICOLONSThe semicolon is stronger than a comma but weaker than a period. While it can be used (at times) in lieu of a comma, its primary role is closer to that of a period. Its most common use is between two independent clauses (complete sentences) not joined by a conjunction.
Semicolons may be used within dialogue. There is no rule to support otherwise (at least that I have found so far). Also note that the clause that follows the semicolon is not capitalized, with the exception of proper nouns, of course.
#1 Before an adverbThe following adverbs, among others, should be preceded by a semicolon when the adverb is used transitionally between two independent clauses (complete sentences): then, however, thus, hence, indeed, accordingly, besides, and therefore.
"I think, therefore I am" (Descartes) remains an exception to this rule.
#2 Before a conjunctionAn independent clause (complete sentence) introduced by a conjunction may be preceded by a semicolon, especially when the independent clause has internal punctuation.
#3 In a seriesWhen items in a series involve internal punctuation, it is less confusing to use semicolons to separate the items instead of commas.
#4 With "that is" and the likeA semicolon may be used before expressions such as that is or namely.
#5 With parentheses or bracketsSemicolons always follow the closing parentheses or bracket.
#1 In a seriesA colon introduces an element or a series of elements that describe what precedes the colon. Between independent clauses (complete sentences), it functions much like a semicolon though more strongly emphasizes sequence. It can be used in leiu of a period to introduce a series of related sentences.
#2 Capitalization after a colonWhen a colon is used within a sentence, like in the first two examples above, the first word following it is lowercased unless it is a proper name. When a colon introduces two or more sentences, like the third example above, or introduces a speech in dialogue or an extract, the first word following it is capitalized.
However, when the (complete) sentence following a colon is lengthy and distinctly different from what precedes the colon, it is often capitalized.
#3 With "as follows" and the likeA colon is normally used after as follows, the following, and similar expressions.
#4 With parentheses or bracketsColons always follow the closing parentheses or bracket.
#5 Inappopriate use of colons
The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.