Define the use of Colons, Semicolons, and Commas

Define the use of colons and semicolons in the sentence structure guidelines. CC_ID 06147

Use a colon to introduce a series. Begin each series with a capital letter. Example:

The organization should implement the 10 Generally Accepted Privacy Principles:

  1. The organization is accountable for its privacy policy and procedures;

  2. The organization provides a privacy policy that identifies the personal information that is collected and discloses how it is used; and

  3. The organization obtains consent for collecting and using the personal information.

Use a colon if it is part of the name of an item, asset, record, etc. Example:

  • Configure the "DCOM: Machine Access Restrictions in Security Descriptor Definition Language (SDDL)" setting.

Use semicolons for sentence style tabulations.

You also may use semicolons when they are a named part of something. Example:

  • Configure the "Automatic Query Refresh (Prompt for all workbooks | Do not prompt; do not allow auto refresh | Do not prompt; allow auto refresh)" setting properly.

Define the use of commas in the sentence structure guidelines. CC_ID 06149

If a sentence consists of two independent clauses, each with subject and predicate, use a comma before the conjunction. Example:

  • The commission shall submit a report, and the governor shall review the report.

If a sentence has a compound predicate, a comma is unnecessary, unless it's required for clarity. Example:

  • The treasurer shall file the report before June 30 and shall submit copies of the report to each member of the commission.

Use a comma to set off a nonrestrictive adjective clause. Example:

  • The director, who may not have other employment, is entitled to receive a salary.

Do not use a comma to set off a restrictive clause. Example:

  • The registrar shall assign a student identification number to each student who enters Purdue University.

Enclose a parenthetical phrase or clause with two commas. Example:

  • The treasurer shall, before June 30 of each fiscal year, submit copies of the report to each member of the commission.

Use commas to separate words, short phrases, or short clauses in a series of three. Use a comma before the conjunction connecting the last two members of a series. Example:

  • The report shall be filed with the auditor of state, the treasurer of state, and the state board of tax commissioners. The report must contain all debits, credits, and profits of the corporation.

Use semicolons in place of commas when there are three or more parts to a series, long phases are used in a series, or when clauses appear within the series. Example:

  • Each mapper was seated at a separate desk and given the following equipment: a laptop, which had either a 10-inch screen or a 15-inch screen; a pad and pencil, which the mapper may or may not use; and a bottle of wine, which may or may not help get the job done.

Use commas to set off adverbial phrases, introductory participial phrases, and introductory, long subordinate clauses. Example:

  • Because of the need for a more effective welfare program, the chairman ordered an extensive study of the present program. Until further notice is given, the present rules remain in effect

Use commas when there is a condition. Example:

  • The organization should disable all unnecessary connections, unless otherwise noted in an exceptions rule.

Last updated