Punctuation Marks: Comma, Semicolon, and Colon (Part Two)

Skill: Writing

Category: General English & Academic English

Level: Upper-Intermediate

Punctuation Marks: Comma, Semicolon, and Colon (Part Two)

Rule 5: Using comma to set off multiple adjectives

A comma is possibly used to separate more than one adjective in a sentence

Ex: She is a tall, beautiful teacher.

Ex: His pretty, red and expensive car was stolen.

Rule 6: Using comma for quotation

While quoting someone else’s thoughts and ideas, a comma should be placed before direct quotation.  

Ex: He said to me, “I admire your dedication for the support of your country.” 

Ex: Ted replied, saying, “I will invite you once I am back from the trip.”

Rule 7: Using comma for dates, numbers and addresses

Use a comma in dates, in numbers, to set off a city from the state  

Ex: January 25, 2010

Ex: Saturday, December 20, 1990

Ex: 16,000,000

Ex: Aims College is satiated in Greeley, Colorado.

Rule 8: Using comma to prevent confusion in reading

Ex: To Jay, Peter is an envious person.

Rule 9: Do not use comma to set off subject from the verb

INCORRECT: The most prominent attribute of a soccer player, is running fast.

INCORRECT: A city with knowledge citizens, is considered a prosperous one.

Rule 10: Do not use comma between two verbs

INCORRECT: She came back home, and began to clean the house.

Semicolons (;)

Rule 1: 

A Semicolon can be as an alternative to a comma and a coordinating conjunction ( for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and it is used to separate two complete thoughts—two independent clauses.

Ex: Smith went to the kindergarten; his little sister with him.

Ex: Lily moved to England; she lived there for about 25 years.

Rule 2:

Use a semicolon before transitional words such as however, in other words, therefore, nevertheless, and use a comma after these words.

Ex: Tobby graduated from university with grade results; therefore, he received a scholarship from Harward University.

Rule 3:

A semicolon can be used between items in a series when these items themselves have a comma.

Ex: They visited Japan, Thailand, and China in winter; Germany, Spain and France in spring; and North American in fall.


Rule 1:

Colon is used to offering a group of items.

Ex: I want these items for breakfast: cheese, toast, butter and jam.

Rule 2:

A colon can be used instead of the semicolon—between two independent clauses if the send clause is the paraphrase or illustration of the first clause.

Ex: Don’t forget the old saying: follow your dreams.

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