Punctuation

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Colons Separating Independent Clauses

Colons may be used to separate independent clauses that are not separated by a conjunction or any other connecting word or phrase. Semicolons are normally used, but the colon adds emphasis, especially if the first clause leads into the second clause or has a parallel construction. The second clause begins with a capital letter. Correct:

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Using Parentheses

Parentheses set off material not essential to the meaning of the text. They are used for asides and explanations when the material is not essential or if it is made up of more than one sentence. Parentheses may contain a complete sentence or sentences. Example: He had to go through the usual process to get

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Colons with Appositives

Use a colon instead of a comma to introduce an appositive at the end of a sentence for emphasis. Appositives may be words, phrases, or clauses. If it is an independent clause, that clause begins with a capital letter. Correct: He was watching his favorite type of television show: a baseball game. (A comma is

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Parentheses with Certain Numbers and Letters

Parentheses are used around numbers showing dates (usually dates of birth and/or death), inserted figures, or numbers or letters in an itemized series (such as a series of steps). Date: Joshua Chamberlain (1829-1914) received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role at Gettysburg. Inserted figures: The Senate vote was very close (50-48). Numbers in

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Special Cases Using Colons

There are half a dozen special uses for the colon. 1. Numerical expressions of time. Example: 5:31 p.m. The colon goes between the hour and minute. If seconds are noted, a colon goes between the minute and second. Example: He ran the marathon in 2:14:33.2. (Two hours, fourteen minutes, and thirty-three point two seconds.) Example:

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