Skip to main content

Colon or Semicolon?

If you want to write English more effectively, then you should use the colon and semicolon.

They look and sound similar, but they have very different uses. This website explains how to use them both, and how to know which one is suitable for the task in hand.

Simply put, the colon is used to provide a pause before introducing related information, while the semicolon is just a break in a sentence that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop.

A quick guide to using the colon

A colon is made up of two dots, one placed above the other.

One common use of the colon is to introduce a list of items. For example:

To make the perfect jam sandwich you need three things: some bread, butter and strawberry jam.

Three items are listed in the sentence above. The first part of the sentence informs the reader that there will be three things; then the colon tells the reader “here are the three items”.

A colon can also be used to introduce a definition, statement or explanation of something. For example:

I know how I’m going to handle this: I’m going to hide!

Penguin (noun): an aquatic, flightless bird found almost exclusively in the Antarctic.

This site provides a more in-depth explanation of the colon and examples of using a colon.

A quick guide to using the semicolon

A semicolon is made up of a comma with a dot above it.

The most common use of the semicolon is to join together two clauses that could each be separate sentences — creating a longer sentence. For example:

John calls it football; Sam calls it soccer.

This could be written as two sentences without the semicolon; however, the relationship between the two clauses is made more clear through the use of a semicolon.  The semicolon is often used to make the reader think about the relationship between the two clauses.

The semicolon is also commonly used to join two clauses, changing the sentence in combination with words like  ‘therefore’, ‘however’ or ‘on the other hand’. The examples below illustrate this approach:


Sian is Welsh; however, she lives in Canada.

in addition

He likes to play video games; in addition, he likes to read classical literature.


You should stop drinking too much alcohol; otherwise, you’re going to get into trouble.


Hundreds of people came to the party; therefore, it was not possible to say hello to everyone individually.

See using the semicolon for more information. There are also more examples of using the semicolon.

We are professional and reliable provider since we offer customers the most powerful and beautiful themes. Besides, we always catch the latest technology and adapt to follow world’s new trends to deliver the best themes to the market.

Contact info

We are the leaders in the building industries and factories. We're word wide. We never give up on the challenges.

Recent Posts