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Topic: Punctuation
Skill: Colons/semi-colons


Colons are used to introduce lists. For example:

For butter pudding you need: eggs, flour, butter, sugar.

Colons are also used when the first part of the sentence has suggested that more will follow. For example:

She looked sad: her eyes were red and her face was pale. Rewrite the following changing commas to colons wherever they are needed.
  1. In my bag are the following articles, diary, pen and a purse.
  2. The policeman said the prisoner had in his bag, a bunch of keys, a jemmy, a screwdriver, and a wire cutter.
  3. Anne was so happy, her eyes glowed, her head was held high.
  4. We went to Jo's new house, a converted barn in 20 acres of woodland.


A semi-colon shows a longer pause than a comma but does not provide such a definite break as a full stop. Sometimes long sentences have several parts which are closely connected. In this case a semi-colon is used to show a pause between the parts. For example:

The coach was about to leave; Ian climbed aboard. Rewrite the following inserting colons or semi-colons.
  1. You could do all your homework today that would get it out of the way.
  2. I enjoy swimming in the summer it's always so refreshing.
  3. Charlotte had so many presents books records tapes and money.
  4. Anne had been looking forward to the journey but now she felt uncertain.

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