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Use of semicolon

Discussion in 'English Only' started by southerngal, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. southerngal Senior Member

    American English
    In American English, a semicolon is used to connect two complete though closely related sentences, such as: I don't know when I'll finish; I'm sure it won't take long.

    A colon is used before an extended quotation, explanation, example, series, etc. and after the salutati of a formal letter. (This definition was found in my dictionary at home)

    Yet, someone from Australia wrote in another thread:

    An economy with words results in; A man downstairs wants to see you. .,, You are retrospectively welcome.

    Does British English use semicolons and colons differently than American English?
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    AE and BE seem to agree in principle. There may be variations in how much punctuation people like to use - either from personal choice or depending on the house style they write for.

    You'll find one clear exposition of BE use HERE.
  3. southerngal Senior Member

    American English
    Thanks panjandrum; it seems that mixing up colons and semicolons is a worldwide problem! ;)
  4. Pirlo

    Pirlo Senior Member

    Semi-colons are used to link two independant sentances. (Atleast how I have learnt it.)
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I suggest that independent is a bit too strong. If the sentences are in fact independent, they should be two separate sentences.
    Here is a quote from the link above:

  6. A90Six Senior Member

    England - English.

    I found this piece interesting:

    But first please note the following: the colon is never preceded by a white space; it is always followed by a single white space in normal use, and it is never, never, never followed by a hyphen or a dash... :)

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