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Semicolons_Colons - IUPUI University Writing Center Because...

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IUPUI University Writing Center “Because writers need readers” Cavanaugh 427 274-2049 Using Semicolons and Colons Semi-colons and colons are important marks of punctuation in writing that fulfill important grammatical and stylistic functions. As John Lannon, an author of a text on technical writing, says, “A semicolon usually works like a blinking red traffic light at an intersection by signaling a brief but definite stop.” This is in contrast to the red light that stops traffic until the light changes; that’s like a period. The colon also indicates a pause, one that is stronger than a semi-colon, but not as strong as the period. Generally, it is used to signal the beginning of important follow-up material. Lannon says this about the colon: “Like a flare in the road, a colon signals you to stop and then proceed, paying attention to the situation ahead, the details of which will be revealed as you move along.” Remember, semi-colons and colons serve different functions in sentences; they should not be thought of as interchangeable marks of punctuation. SEMICOLON When you write a sentence with two independent clauses that you choose not to join with a coordinating conjunction ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so ) and comma, the semicolon is the mark for you. With either
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