Grammar Presentation

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PUNCTUATION! 

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A colon is a punctuation mark that is used to introduce a list in a sentence or a quote, to separate two major parts of a sentence, to indicate a ratio (such as 1:2) or a time (8:15). For example: These students were on the honor roll: Lisa, Jason, and Jessica

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway The colon comes at a point in the sentence where the sentence could come to a complete stop. I’m going to tell you the names of my favorite breakfast foods. We could even put a period after the word “foods,” couldn’t we? In fact, we did.

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway I’m going to tell you the names of my favorite breakfast foods : cereal, hash browns, pancakes, and sausage.

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway My favorite breakfast foods are cereal, hash browns, pancakes, and sausage. Would I use a colon in the sentence above? No, because the sentence does not come to a halt here. Instead, the sentence flows right into the list. A colon would not be appropriate here.

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway Examine this next sentence carefully. Our math tutor wants just one thing from us that we try our best . Here, we have an independent thought (ending with “us”). followed by another kind of completer (a noun clause).

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway To set off this completer, this explanation , we can use a colon . Our math tutor wants just one thing from us : that we try our best. These are the two main uses of the colon: to set off a list or an explanation that we know is about to follow the main part of the sentence .

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway We also use the colon to set off a formal quotation . Shoes: $50. Backpack: $40 School Supplies: $75. Waking up late and missing the bus on the first day: Priceless

The Colon: a sentence gateway:

The Colon: a sentence gateway Just remember that you usually know what is going to follow a colon: a list, an explanation, or a formal quotation . CONGRATULATIONS! You have now mastered the uses of the colon, a very handy device in the punctuation of your sentences.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon Let’s begin with a simple sentence: Grandma stays up too late.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon Now let’s expand on that a bit: Grandma stays up too late. She’s afraid she’s going to miss something. This is OK. Two independent ideas, separated by a period.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon What if we try to combine the two ideas? Grandma stays up too late, she’s afraid she’s going to miss something . Something’s wrong. We connected two independent clauses with only a comma. The dreaded COMMA SPLICE!

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon We could insert a coordinating conjunction : This is better! Note the comma that accompanies the coordinating conjunction. Grandma is afraid she’ll miss something, so she stays up too late.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon We could also try subordinating one of these ideas: Grandma stays up too late because she’s afraid she’s going to miss something . Notice that the comma disappeared. One idea (the second one) now depends on the other; it has become a dependent clause .

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon But let’s try something else. ENTER THE SEMICOLON !

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon Let’s try using a semicolon in this sentence. Grandma stays up too late ; she’s afraid she’s going to miss something. Notice there is no conjunction used with this semicolon – either subordinating or coordinating. Just the semicolon, all by itself.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon Sometimes semicolons are accompanied by conjunctive adverbs – words such as however, moreover, therefore, nevertheless, consequently, as a result. Grandma is afraid she’s going to miss something ; as a result, she stays up too late.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon Notice the pattern: ; as a result, semicolon + conjunctive adverb + comma This is a typical construction with semicolons .

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon There is one other use of the semicolon: to help us sort out monster lists , like this one: The committee included Peter Wursthorn, Professor of Mathematics, from Marlborough, Connecticut, Virginia Villa, Professor of English, from Hartford, Connecticut, Paul Creech, Director of Rad-Tech, from Essex, Connecticut, and Joan Leach, Professor of Nursing, from Farmington, Connecticut.

Our Friend, the Semicolon:

Our Friend, the Semicolon Be careful where you insert semicolons in this sentence. The committee included Peter Wursthorn, Professor of Mathematics, from Marlborough, Connecticut ; Virginia Villa, Professor of English, from Hartford, Connecticut ; Paul Creech, Director of Rad-Tech, from Essex, Connecticut ; and Joan Leach, Professor of Nursing, from Farmington, Connecticut.

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