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Colon (:)

Colons are used to introduce lists or other details that are in complete sentences.

The following items are for sale: a laptop computer, computer desk, task chair, and a color printer.

(Always be sure to type two spaces after a colon, and no spaces before it.)

Semi-colon (;)

Semi-colons are used to join two complete sentences without using words such as: and, but, because, or, so, while, etc.

My child is disturbing my sleep; she cannot help it though, as she is only a year old.

Also use a semi-colon to separate large items in a list.

This is what my child likes to do all day: color pretty pictures, especially with markers; get into my stuff, like pens and paper; and bugging her sister.

Use a semi-colon to join a series of short sentences which belong together.

I have a headache; my kids are really noisy; I need to finish this article; give me a break!

(Be sure to type one space after a semi-colon and none before.)

Comma (,)

Commas are used to mark the end of an introductory statement.

Before going to the mall and then to the park, we need to clean the house.

Commas join incomplete sentences to complete sentences with a conjunction word.

As mentioned before, we took a fifteen-minute walk.

They can also be used to set aside parenthetical statements, addresses, states, countries, years and exclamations, as well as separating three or more items.

I sat, exhausted from the day, in my favorite chair.

That company is in Salem, Oregon, USA.

She was born December, 1995, and she weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

Heck, if I didn't know better, I would say that it was still winter by those temperatures!

Go to the store and get milk, eggs, sugar, and butter so that we can make cookies.

(Type one space after commas and none before.)

These are the main types of punctuation with which most people become confused. These must be mastered before the other types of punctuation can be learned!