Higher Education

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Using Colons and Semicolons Quiz

The sentences in this quiz contain a comma or commas that could or should be replaced by either a semicolon or a colon. Determine which rule applies among those summarized below. (Note: Each sentence contains at least one error, but not every comma is used incorrectly.)

Colon and Semicolon Rules

semicolon in independent clauses: the semicolon replaces a comma and coordinating conjunction in two closely related independent clauses

semicolon with conjunctive adverb: the semicolon is followed by a conjunctive adverb or transitional phrase that connects two independent clauses

semicolon in series: semicolons separate items in a series if at least one item contains commas or is much longer than the other items

colon before a list or direct quotation: a colon can set up a list or direct quotation if what precedes the colon is completely expressed

colon before independent clause: the independent clause that follows the colon answers, explains, or completes the first clause

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1. The Online Dictionary defines animal cruelty in the following way, "treatment or standards of care that cause unwarranted or unnecessary suffering or harm to animals."

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


2. The art of writing the news lead is to answer as many of the following five questions as possible, who? what? where? when? and how?

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


3. The longest day, the summer solstice, is June 21, the shortest day, the winter solstice, is December 21.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


4. Varsity sports are of paramount value, they give students focus, direction, and personal satisfaction.

a) semicolon in independent clauses (half marks)
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


5. Most research shows a positive correlation between media violence and violent behaviours, however, the correlation is weak.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


6. In compound sentences, use a comma to join independent clauses where there is a coordinating conjunction, use a semicolon where two such clauses are not joined by a coordinating conjunction.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


7. Students should be required to take an English course in order to fulfill first-year requirements, it will help them in their later courses and in their careers.

a) semicolon in independent clauses (half marks)
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


8. Young rowers have the chance to compete internationally by trying out for Team BC, which represents BC at the Summer Games, the CanAmMex team, which represents Canada at CanAmMex, and the Junior National Team, which represents Canada at the Junior World Championships.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


9. Gymnastics is not just a sport, it is one of the most challenging and physically taxing of all sports.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause (half marks)

Answer


10. Some children may have lost a parent due to illness or divorce, others may have been cared for by grandparents or other relatives.

a) semicolon in independent clauses b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb c) semicolon in series d) colon before a list or direct quotation e) colon before independent clause

Answer


11. There are two schools in the Greater Victoria School District that provide services for special-needs students, David Cameron Elementary and Victor Street School.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


12. Although SPCA officers are given the right to work for the government, they are not paid by the government, rather, their salaries are paid by donations.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


13. Those with anorexia nervosa rarely seek help, therefore, symptoms often remain hidden due to the secrecy and denial that accompany the disorder.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


14. Gasoline has been used for more than a century, an entire global infrastructure is based on its production and distribution.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer


15. I will be discussing two notable educators whose educational theories are widely respected, Jean Piaget and Maria Montessori.

a) semicolon in independent clauses
b) semicolon with conjunctive adverb
c) semicolon in series
d) colon before a list or direct quotation
e) colon before independent clause

Answer