Year 7, Week 7: Colons and Semi-Colons
Colons can be used to join two sentences together when the second sentence explains something about the first sentence.
- Several people have been sent to hospital: they have all received life-threatening injuries.
- Jordan had to go home: he had been voted out.
You can think of the colon as replacing the connective because if that helps you.
Semi-colons can also join two sentences. They need to be two equally important sentences that you feel you can connect together in some way.
I play football; I also play rugby. (and)
I play football; my brother plays rugby. (whereas)
The teacher was already talking; I ran into the classroom. (so)
You can think of the semi-colon replacing the connectives and, whereas and so if that helps you. Although a connective can be used in these examples, a semi-colon can make your writing more sophisticated and effective.
Capital letters after colons and semi-colons
In some forms of English, people use a capital letter after a colon or semi-colon and you may have seen this. You should only use a capital letter after a colon or a semi-colon if you would normally use a capital letter for it, even in the middle of a sentence e.g. a proper noun like ‘I’ or ‘David’.
Look at the two examples below:
I play football; I also play rugby. A capital letter would be needed anyway.
I play football; my brother plays rugby. A capital letter is not needed.