Colon vs Semicolon: When to Use a Semicolon, a Colon

Difference Between (:) Colon vs Semicolon (;)! Many English speakers are uncertain about the correct usage of the colon and the semi-colon. This lesson will explain these two punctuation marks with ESL picture.

Colon vs Semicolon

Colon (:)

What is colon punctuation?

The colon ( : ) is a punctuation mark consisting of two dots one over the other.

When to Use a Colon

In the majority of the cases, the colon is used to introduce a list of things.

A colon may also be used to introduce a dependent clause that helps to emphasize or illustrate the idea in the preceding clause.

It indicates that the reader should look forward to information that follows on from the earlier statement.


  • Topics discussed will include: the structure of viruses, virus families and current concerns in virology.
  • There is only one way to culture that cell line: in medium with L-glutamine.
  • I have packed my cricket kit with the equipment I need: bats, gloves and pads.
  • A man needs three things to survive: air, water, and food.
  • The lab report consists of six sectionsintroduction, background, engineering theory, experimental setup, procedure, and analysis.

Semi-Colon (;)

What is semi-colon punctuation?

The semi-colon ( ; ) consists of a dot above a comma. It enables the writer to avoid over use of the comma and preserves the finality of the full stop.

When to Use a Semicolon

# 1. A semi-colon is used to separate sentences where the conjunction has been left out. The semi-colon tells the reader that the second clause is closely linked to the first clause.


  • Sumit likes to play cricket; Amit likes to play soccer.
  • I drank lemonade; Manish drank tea.
  • I read the book in one evening; it was not very helpful.

#2. The semi-colon can be used to link sentences which also use words such as otherwise, however, therefore, as connectors. These connectors (known as conjunctive adverbs) also include: moreover, nevertheless, thus, besides, accordingly, consequently, instead, hence.


  • I did not finish reading the text; instead, I watched the news.
  • The research is far from conclusive; nevertheless, it has some value in this case.

Difference Between Colon vs Semicolon | Infographic

Colon vs Semicolon: When to Use a Semicolon vs a ColonPin