Grammar and Punctuaton: Punctuation

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1. Colons

2. Semicolons

3. Commas

 

1. Colons
A colon is like an equal sign: it means that what comes after the colon explains or results from what comes before the colon. In the same way, the colon also announces what follows: a list, a quotation, or a qualification.

EXAMPLES
The meeting included the following administrators: the Provost, her assistant, and the Associate Dean.

The new $40 million library could not have been built without the generosity of a devoted alumnus: the money was a gift from Paul Barret, Jr.

2. Semicolons
A semicolon connects two independent clauses that have similar ideas or content and are not otherwise joined by a comma with a coordinating conjunction. Be especially careful with semicolons, as misusing them can result in fragments.

EXAMPLE
Rhodes is a top liberal arts college; it consistently ranks in the first quartile of colleges nationwide.

3. Commas
A comma is used to separate terms in a list, to separate a long introductory phrase or dependent clause from the main clause, to separate a non-restrictive clause or incidental phrase, and to separate independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, yet, or, nor, for).

EXAMPLES
List:
The meeting included the Provost, her assistant, and the Associate Dean.
Rhodes College’s lush, Gothic campus is appealing to prospective students.

Introductory phrase:
With the Lynx Lair renovation complete, students will enjoy a pub
atmosphere.
Nonrestrictive clause:
The library, you will be amazed to hear, cost $40 million to build.
Independent clauses:
Rhodes is a top liberal arts college, and it consistently ranks in the first quartile of colleges nationwide.