Use a semicolon before such words and terms as namely, however, therefore, that is, i.e., for example, e.g., for instance, etc., when they introduce a complete sentence. It is also preferable to use a comma after these words and terms. Example: Bring any two items; however, sleeping bags and tents are in short supply.
Semicolons should introduce evidence or a reason for the preceding statement; for example, this sentence appropriately uses a semicolon. A colon, on the other hand, should be used for a stronger, more direct relationship. It should provide emphasis, an example, or an explanation.
A colon instead of a semicolon may be used between independent clauses when the second sentence explains, illustrates, paraphrases, or expands on the first sentence. Example: He got what he worked for: he really earned that promotion. Examples: input data. write reports. complete tax forms.
Dashes To set off material for emphasis. Think of dashes as the opposite of parentheses. To indicate sentence introductions or conclusions. To mark “bonus phrases.” Phrases that add information or clarify but are not necessary to the meaning of a sentence are ordinarily set off with commas. To break up dialogue.
Examples of Semicolons: Joan likes eggs; Jennifer does not. The cat slept through the storm; the dog cowered under the bed. Semicolons are also used in a sentence when something stronger than a comma is needed.
Using Semicolons A semicolon is most commonly used to link (in a single sentence) two independent clauses that are closely related in thought. Use a semicolon between two independent clauses that are connected by conjunctive adverbs or transitional phrases.
When would you use semicolons in a list? Writing a list sounds simple, but there are several punctuation marks you need. Colons can introduce a list, while commas are used to separate items in a list.
The colon: is a punctuation mark consisting of two equally sized dots placed one above the other on the same vertical line. A colon often precedes an explanation, a list, a quotation, or a block quotation.
Introduce the list with a lead-in sentence (the lead-in need not be a complete sentence; the list items can complete the lead-in). Punctuate the lead-in sentence with a colon. Use bulleted lists when the list items are in no necessary order and when you want to emphasize the items in the list.
Rule 1: Use the colon after a complete sentence to introduce a list of items when introductory words such as namely, for example, or that is do not apply or are not appropriate. Examples: You may be required to bring many items: sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing.
A dash is a little horizontal line that floats in the middle of a line of text (not at the bottom: that’s an underscore). It’s longer than a hyphen and is commonly used to indicate a range or a pause. Dashes are used to separate groups of words, not to separate parts of words like a hyphen does.
To make an em dash, press and hold Alt, then type 0151.
For Standard Lists Use a new sentence or independent clause to introduce the list. Use a colon to signal that the list will be a long one, or use commas to separate items in a short list. If you have to separate the items in the list, then a semicolon splits items of over three words and items with commas in them.