Difference Between Colon and Semicolon

Difference Between Colon and Semicolon

Colons and semicolons are both used to indicate a relationship between two ideas, but the relationship indicated by these two punctuation marks is different. That is to say, the functions of these two punctuation marks are vastly different. Colons are used to introduce a list of items, expansion or explanation or a quotation whereas semicolons are used to separate major elements of a sentence. This is the main difference between colon and semicolon. We’ll discuss these different functions of colons and semicolons in this article.

What is a Colon

Colon (:) is a punctuation mark that is mainly used to introduce something. A colon is typically used after an independent clause. There are three main uses of colons. It can be used after an independent clause when the second clause explains the first (independent) clause. The second clause can be a definition, explanation, summary of the first.


 They have an interesting motto: do or die.

I have only one question: are you out of your mind?

This phone has better storage capacity: it has 64 GB built-in storage.

A colon can be used to introduce a list. Here, the items indicated by the first clause are given out by the second clause.


She taught me some fundamental aspects of the language: grammar, punctuation, pronunciation, and style.

There are three main types of sentences: simple sentences, compound sentences, and complex sentences.

A comma can be also used to introduce a quotation or direct speech.

The headlines read: “Teenager battles hardened gangsters!”

Oscar Wilde once said: ““Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” Difference Between Colon and Semicolon

What is a Semicolon

A semicolon (;) looks like a comma with a period over it. The main function of a semicolon is to create a break that is stronger than a comma, but not as strong as a full stop. A semicolon can be used to join two independent clauses. They can be also connected without a semicolon but, use of the semicolon highlights the relationship between the two clauses more clearly.

He wanted to meet her; she refused to meet him.

Sally went to the grocery store today; she bought a lot of things.

As seen from the above examples, a semicolon (instead of a coordinating conjunction) can be used to create a compound sentence as well.Main Difference - Colon vs Semicolon

Difference Between Colon and Semicolon


Colon is a punctuation mark used before a quotation, an expansion or explanation or a list of items.

Semicolon is a punctuation mark indicating a pause that is more pronounced than that indicated by a comma.


Colon is represented by :

Semicolon is represented by ;

Joining two clauses

Colon can join two clauses when the second clause is a definition, explanation, summary of the first.

Semicolon can join two related independent clauses.

Introducing a Quotation

Colon is used to introduce a quotation.

Semicolon is not used to introduce a quotation.

Introducing a List

Colon is used to introduce a list.

Semicolon is not used to introduce a list.

Difference Between Colon and Semicolons- infographic

About the Author: admin

Related pages

colloid solution definitiondifference between anorexia nervosa and bulimiafermion or bosonelectric flux and magnetic fluxadenoma definitiondifference between bfa and batachycardia fibrillationnoun and adverb clausesjack and the beanstalk moral of the storydifference between centripetal and centrifugaltermination of transcription in prokaryoteseminent antonymbake and broilthe difference between diffusion and osmosisrelation between frequency and wavelengthdifference between subordinate clause and phrasethe difference between acronym and abbreviationdifference between plasmogamy and karyogamynon template strand of dnadifference dictionary and thesauruswhat is the difference between rum and brandydifference between countable and uncountable nounsconceit poetry exampleswhat is flagella and ciliatechnicolor tg797n v3 loginis bread soda and bicarbonate of soda the same thingfree market synonymglycogen starch and cellulose are polymers ofdifference between german rottweiler and american rottweilershear stress and tensile stress relationdifference between refracting and reflecting telescopesdefinition valencymeaning of noun and pronounthe catcher in the rye climaxovertones harmonicswhat is blood colloid osmotic pressuredifference between vermicelli and spaghetticaesura in poetryunits for thermal diffusivityumbilical cord structuredefine bicameral legislaturemeaning of non vascular plantswhat are the seven possessive pronounsdifference between lunch dinner and supperbinery fissioncauses of leukocytosisnocturnal diurnalthe relationship between absorbance and transmittanceaccommodation examples psychologybeta rays propertiesexamples of temporary magnetswhat are the differences between turtles and tortoisesexamples of totipotent stem cellswhat is the difference between inelastic and elasticdifference between amide and aminethe difference between a cyclone and a tornadopast participle of ledunits of thermal diffusivitydifference between poem and poetry by coleridgemicrofilaments and microtubuleswhat is the difference between nitrite and nitratedifference typhoon and hurricanehand roll vs makidefine transnational strategydifference between burgundy and maroonphagocytosis endocytosisthe difference between alaskan malamute and siberian huskywhat is isotonic meanexample of a compound complex sentencewhat does persistent mean dictionarytyphoon vs hurricane definitiontypes of bullet trainsthermal diffusivity and thermal conductivityvalues and virtues definitionsn2 reaction stereochemistryexamples of anastropheabbasids empire