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This Semicolon Quiz Will Test Your Punctuation Knowledge

Semicolons and colons and commas, oh my! A quiz from the BuzzFeed copydesk.

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Decide what should replace the emojis in these sentences, and prove you know how to use the most elusive punctuation mark of them all: the semicolon of course.

  1. No, I don't want no scrub? a scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me.

    What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    comma
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolon
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colon
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Semicolon!

    This should be a semicolon, since it links two closely related independent clauses — each clause could stand alone as its own sentence. Using a comma would result in a comma splice (yikes).

  2. If you think <i>Game of Thrones</i> will have a happy ending? you haven't been paying attention.

    What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    comma
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolon
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colon
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Comma!

    It's a comma here — the first clause can't stand alone as its own sentence.

  3. We ordered the spicy fish tacos? nachos topped with chicken, queso fresco, pico de gallo, and roasted peppers? and six frozen, salt-rimmed margaritas.

    What should replace the emojis in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    commas
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolons
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colons
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Semicolons!

    Semicolons can separate list items that already contain commas (like the description of our nachos with alllll the toppings).

  4. The FBI agent watching me through my webcam told me I should always follow these three rules? Don't pick up the phone, don't let him in, and don't be his friend.

    What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    comma
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolon
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colon
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Colon!

    A clear case of a colon being correct. A colon rather than a semicolon is used to introduce a list.

  5. I told Alexa to order me a large pizza? to play "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé? and to text my ex a middle-finger emoji.

    What should replace the emojis in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    commas
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolons
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colons
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Commas!

    We don't need semicolons in this simple list — commas will do!

  6. The dinner guests included Oprah Winfrey, president of the United States?? her vice president, Michelle Obama?? and the new secretary of state, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

    What should replace the emojis in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    commas
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolons
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colons
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Semicolons!

    Once again, semicolons are used to separate items in a list that have commas in them — this makes it super clear who's who at this important state dinner.

  7. My dachshund, Noodles, is my best friend? he's a very good boy.

    What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    comma
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolon
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colon
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Semicolon!

    Another example of a semicolon doing its job of joining two closely related clauses that could stand alone.

  8. I think of myself as a '90s kid? even though I was only born in 1998.

    What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    comma
    Correct
    Incorrect
    semicolon
    Correct
    Incorrect
    colon
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Comma!

    Since the second clause has a coordinating conjunction ("even though"), it isn't independent — so we need a comma instead of a semicolon.

 
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