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May 26, 2018

This Semicolon Quiz Will Test Your Punctuation Knowledge

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

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. What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    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. What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Comma!

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

  3. What should replace the emojis in this sentence?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Semicolons!

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

  4. What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Colon!

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

  5. What should replace the emojis in this sentence?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Commas!

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

  6. What should replace the emojis in this sentence?

    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. What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    Correct! 
    Wrong! 

    Semicolon!

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

  8. What should replace the emoji in this sentence?

    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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