Sunday, 5 May 2013

: ; ?

The colon and the semi colon, oh how I wish I knew what you were all about?
I studied English to A level but I don't ever remember being taught what they were for or where to use them.
Now that I am of an age where I don't mind admitting when I don't know something I'm admitting it. There, I've said it, I don't know what they are for.
Can anyone help me please?


Frances Garrood said...

I have to do this, as I LOVE semi-colons and am quite fond of colons!

Colons: example would be "he kept numerous animals: a giraffe, a rat, a tiger and a beetle." They can precede a list or elaboration of something from the first part of the sentence; or in fact, as I used, above, after the word "colons".

Semi-colons: they are a half stop rather than a full stop. They provide a break in a sentence, halfway between a comma and a full stop. Very useful; I couldn't manage without them!

I'm not sure this is how an English teacher would explain them, but hope it helps (I've just come back from the pub...)

I do highly recommend Lynne Truss's classic book Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It's a thoroughly entertaining exposition (and defence of) punctuation.

Good luck!

Colette McCormick said...

Thanks Frances. I'm not sure I understand it full yet as drink has been taken at this end too but I'm sure it will all be clear in the morning.
Thanks again.

Teresa Ashby said...

I'm never 100% sure about their use, but now I feel more confident thanks to Frances :-) x

Colette McCormick said...

You and me both Teresa

Anonymous said...

I will endorse what Frances says and recommend Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. That's where I learned to use punctuation properly.

Colette McCormick said...

I'll look out for it Capt.