Colon, Semicolon, Hyphen, and Dash

دوره: Academic Writing Essentials University Writing Crash Course / فصل: Punctuation Crash Course / درس 3

Colon, Semicolon, Hyphen, and Dash

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Today we’re moving on with our punctuation crash course to discuss the use of coal and semi-colon hyphen

and dash.

Let’s begin with the basics of a colon.

The colon must follow a complete sentence and is always followed by an explanation or a list.

For example the teacher gave the class a seemingly impossible assignment.

Change the world in three days or less.

So it follows a complete sentence and it adds explanation.

And another one.

There are three key characteristics of good academic writing an arguable thesis paragraph unity and


So here we have a complete sentence followed by a list after the colon.

And those are the two most basic uses of the colon.

Next is the semi-colon the semi-colon is used to.

To join two closely related independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction.

So remember those are and but are yet an example.

The team’s luck was finally turning around.

They had won four games in a row.

So these two luck turning around and winning four games in a row are very closely related.

So we can add a semi-colon and put these two sentences or independent clauses together.

A semi-colon also is used to combine two independent clauses with a conjunctive adverb so the teams

luck was finally turning around.

Unfortunately the captain broke his arm in the last game.

So here we have two independent clauses and we have a conjunctive adverb unfortunately.

So use a semi-colon.

The conjunctive adverb and then a comma and then we combine those two independent clauses.

A semi-colon is also used to separate items within a list.

Have internal punctuation.

So let’s look at an example.

I recently read a book about three Wizards Harry Potter Quidditch seeker.

Ronald Weasley loyal friend and her minor Granger Ron’s girlfriend OK so within this list we have commers

because we’re using nonrestrictive modifiers to remember Harry Potter.

We’re adding information whiteish seeker so we use a comma that since each item on this list has internal

punctuation since each has a comma we use a semi-colon to separate the items within the list.

Finally a semi-colon is also used to link two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction.

If the clause or the clauses have internal punctuation so I love bacon sausage and eggs but I hate pancakes.

So the first independent clause has internal punctuation.

It has multiple commas already.

So then we use a semi-colon before the coordinating conjunction.

But to connect that second independent clause.

What about the hyphen.

The heifer’s first are most commonly used to make compound words.

For example 46 or son in law.

It also connects prefixes and suffixes to mean words like anti-abortion or pro Canadien now all compound

words however are connected by a hyphen.

So don’t get mixed up we have words like baseball and bathroom.

We have plenty of compound words that do not use a hyphen.

Also not all prefixes and suffixes are connected with the hyphen examples like premature or coworker.

So if you’re not sure it’s best to just always check the dictionary.

And finally let’s turn to the dash.

There are different types of dashes.

There’s an end Dasch which is longer then the hyphen and this is used with number ranges or after a

number to show a continuation.

And there is no space between and dash and the number.

For example 2012 2014 and dash not a hyphen.

Utah beat Chicago 1 0 4 2 1 0 3.

Two sets of numbers.

We do not use a hyphen we use in-dash and Frank Herdman 1974 and Dasch meaning he is still alive.


We also use the dash to make compound adjectives out of compound words.

So if there’s a compound word already using a hyphen and we’re wanting to make a compound adjective

then we need to use an dash between the compound word and the next word.

For example a 22 page research paper so 22 is already a compound word connected by a hyphen.

Then we use an n dash to connect that compound word to the word page to make what’s called a compound


The other type of dashes an EM dash and it’s the longest horizontal punctuation line so it shows an

abrupt shift in emphasis or direction.

For example drinking milk has never killed anyone yet so M is long dash yet because it’s showing an

abrupt shift or an emphasis we also can use this instead of parentheses to add extra information into

a sentence for example America’s greatest writers Twain Poe and Melville all wrote throughout the 19th

century OK and depending on which word processor you’re using there are different ways of making the

end or the em dash.

So quickly google it according to whatever word processor you’re using to figure it out OK and that’s

it today for punctuation.

Crash course on Colon’s semi-colons hyphens and dashes as always.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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