Colon vs. Semi-Colon Usage

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"Tea forces me to take a deep breath and slow down. Literally, have you ever moved too fast with a mug of hot water in your hands?" Should I put a colon, semi-colon, or ... in between these two sentences? Or leave it as is?

asked Dec 06 '12 at 21:21 JLY0NS New member

3 answers


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I would leave it as two sentences to keep it simple. If you were to join them, a semi-colon or a comma and a conjunction would be the proper punctuation, You may want to try it without the word 'literally'.

link comment answered Dec 06 '12 at 22:33 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow
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I agree with Lewis.  Keep it as two sentences and don’t use the word literally.  I have seen worse uses of the word.  Too many people use literally when they mean figuratively.  If you find the need to use the word, it should be in the first sentence. 

 

Drinking tea literally forces me to take a deep breath and slow down.  Have you ever moved too fast with a mug of hot water in your hands?

 

I still wouldn’t use it, though. A better use is when one might assume the action happened figuratively unless they are told otherwise.  He literally got down on one knee to propose.  Here, we take a common metaphor and show that the action was literal.  

link comment answered Dec 06 '12 at 23:06 Patty T Grammarly Fellow
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I agree with both Lewis and Patty, but to answer your question about colon and semicolon use:

 

Colons (:) are used to introduce lists and block quotations. A colon is never used to join to sentences (independent clauses). One use of a semicolon (;) is to join two independent clauses.

 

I hope this helps.

link comment answered Dec 07 '12 at 13:31 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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