Colons and Semicolons

100 Replies to “Colons and Semicolons”

  1. The semicolon has always been my favorite punctuation mark, if one can have a favorite. I agree they seem to be disappearing, much to the detriment of all.

  2. getting people on the internet to use proper punctuation is hard enough i mean commas and periods are like never present in todays generation let alone appostrophies and periods they seem to just be the lazy route to typing like this nonsentence
    -Jewdo; Master

  3. Meh, I find both the semi and full colon to be essentially useless.
    I can write without them with no impediment using word choice and structure.

    Good video though.

  4. The second Henry James example is not an example of the use of semicolons the video is describing, to divide independent clauses. The words delineated by the semicolons are items in a list of prepositional phrases. They are divided by semicolons rather than commas because one of the prepositional phrases itself contains commas. This use of the semicolon is more like the use of brackets around parentheses in mathematical expressions than joining complete sentences that are related.

  5. This is extremely useful it was explained so well and i think it's going to help me with an essay i have to write thank you.

  6. Another great video! It first glance, it looked like it was about punctuation. As I thought of it further it, refers to the way people view life.

  7. Thank you. I am surrounded by people who had that English teacher, the one who believed that semicolons should never be used and taught (apparently) thousands of students…

  8. Thanks a lot for this wonderful lesson!
    From now on, I definitely like the semi colon better!
    But I must say that we should be very grateful for having something
    like a colon too :- ) Because even if it is just for a second,
    it gives you the kind of security and certainty that you will never find in life.

    How interesting that in Greek, you use semi colon as a question mark. Does anybody know why? I have always wondered…

    By the way, what a great concidence: one of the latest episodes of Malcolm Gladwell's excellent podcast " Revisionist History" is entirely dedicated to semi colon! The episode is called:

    " Divide and Conquer, The complete unabridged history of the world's most controversial semi-colon"

    I don't want to give away the story, but what they are talking about is still an issue and it could change the U.S' history in some ways. So don't miss it!

    It seems that Shakespeare liked semi colons a lot too. Especially when he thought about death I guess…

    1. As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport. ( King Lear )

    2. The sense of death is most in apprehension; and the poor beetle, that we tread upon, in corporal sufferance feels a pang as great as when a giant dies. ( Measure for Measure )

    3. Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once. ( Julius Caesar )

    4. Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water. ( Henry VIII )

    5. " Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones". ( Julius Caesar )

    ( Himmmm. I am not sure If I agree with this one; indeed the good remains too, right ? At least we must hope so. )

    6. Present mirth hath present laughter ; what's to come is still unsure. ( Twelft Night )

    But this one by Jonn Donne is my favourite:

    "No man is an island ,
    entire of it self;
    every man is a piece of the Continent,
    a part of the main;
    if a clod be washed away by the Sea,
    Europe is the less,
    as well as if a Promontory were,
    as well as if a Manor of thy friends,
    or of thine own were;
    Any Man's death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in Mankind;
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    it tolls for thee"

  9. The description of the video contains an error and ought to read, "This short films explains the following:". The group of words to the left of the colon should always constitute a complete sentence. Also, I think that it's a helpful element of style to capitalize the first word after a colon when the group of words to the right of a colon is a complete sentence. Compare the following:

    a. "Mary likes many types of food: eggs, bacon, fish, and steak."
    b. "Mary likes many types of food: Eggs, bacon, fish, and steak are the only exceptions."

    There might be a better example, because it might sound better to use a semicolon in sentence b. However, I do think that it's helpful to know immediately whether the phrase after the colon constitutes a complete sentence or merely a direct object.

  10. Found in the video description, "this short films explains: …" I'm always confused. Is this proper use of a colon? Must it not follow a single word or complete sentence?

  11. Thanks a lot for explaining this ! I often have trouble with semi-colons; I basically used them when I wasn't sure whether to use a comma or a period.
    It kind of works. And is enhanced by the fact it's called a "period-comma" in French XD

  12. I was really angry today and this video showed up. In 2 minutes everything was calm and beautiful again. How is this even possible? Again, thank you so much for being here in my times of despair 🙂

  13. I didn't watch the video. I just came on to say that if you think I'm going to spend four and a half minutes about semi-colons you are crazy. Even this sentence took twenty seconds.

  14. Was it a simple matter of oversight that you failed to invite the Oxford comma to your party, or was it an outright snub?

  15. I love this! My job relies on using grammar correctly, so it was super informative AND aesthetically pleasing to watch

  16. I feel confident I’ve been using them correctly now. Thanks. What I can’t get past is the long hyphen. Linking the last word of a thought with the first word of a sidenote or example (?) just pinches a nerve in my language center. I can’t abide it. I just can’t. I always add a space both before and after — without which I’d go mad, I tell you, MAD! I suppose then, I’m doing a service for my fellow beings. Um.. You’re welcome. =^} -Phill, Las Vegas

  17. This is gorgeous; punctuation is such a turn-on. I think the experience of hearing or reading poignant or profound punctuation is like a beautiful dance: not anticipated but swept away by the rhythm and feeling.

    Thanks for all you create and share

  18. This is me: for years I had these thoughts too! Although never so eloquently expressed; people always seemed a bit caught off guard, even annoyed by my use of colons and semi-colons – as well as my use of other types of punctuation. It was such a struggle for me, that after a while I found it very difficult to have any sense of how to use them anymore; it felt as if I had unlearned a part of language; unlearned, repressed, a part of myself: a part of my personality; playful use of language and punctuation, but still intentful, while content with the grey messiness of translating speech and thought to writing.

  19. We are friends from the beginning:
    we share grief and ground and gray dread;
    we even share the sun.
    We do not speak to each other,
    because we know too much;
    we are silent to each other,
    we smile our knowledge at each other.
    Are you not the light for my fire ?

  20. what about this example: im here now if you want to start. If not, we could do it another day: when you are available

    or: im here now if you want to start. If not, we could do it another day; when you are available

    The colon is right bc the last part explains the second last part in more detail, and the semi-colon is incorrect bc the second part could not stand as a sentence on its own, right?

  21. Genius is an education, without a teacher in a mumbled sentence. Thankx for explaining, something Christ's College, C anterbur, with it'spomp, never shared with it's students, in the 1980's. Bravo, for now!

  22. To an American ear the British pronunciation of colon makes it sound like a planet filled with evil alien conquerors: The Mighty Kolons! As opposed to the smaller inhabitants of their moon, the Semi-Kolons!!

  23. The colon doesn’t give a crap; constipation! Semi colon? That’s called a colectomy! It’s the surgical removal of part of the colon ;

  24. beautifully described, explained and demonstrated , vv precise yet comprehensive , i loved the video very helpful , best wishes , good luck , thanks for sharing knowledge i appreciate whole heartedly

  25. so for one of my presentations my title is, Ben Franklin printer and publisher, but i don't know if the semicolon would go after the Franklin or if it would be the colon

  26. At last I understand. Many words can be part of a listed item. Thank you so much for your clear explanation and beautiful voice.

  27. If you're unsure how to use a semicolon, remember this: both of the parts that a semicolon separates must be able to stand alone as sentences.

    Example: "One is for a winky face; one is for a normal face."

    A period (full-stop) would've worked too.

    There are plenty of good articles online about when & how to use semicolons.

  28. He says about William James but his brother Henry James was a master of the semicolons; his sentences are son long than a paragraph can go about half or 3/4 of a page.

  29. im not too sure on semicolons still.

    "I had reason to think Jack was the murderer; but as the clues punched me in the face and said, 'no he isnt,' i started to think it was Susan."

    was that correct?
    or am i an idiot?!?!

    edit: if i was right, then HOORRAAY!! If not, then aww..

    i dont usually like videos i enjoy but i liked this one. Believe me.. Its rare for me to like videos

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