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# commas,semicolons,colons

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Senior Manager
Joined: 25 Oct 2008
Posts: 461
Location: Kolkata,India

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28 Aug 2009, 06:02
Hey guys,I noticed the gmat tests have lots of questions testing us on the above three.Could someone give a comprehensive one stop post listing when each are used and their function?
thanks!
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http://gmatclub.com/forum/countdown-beginshas-ended-85483-40.html#p649902
Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 28 Aug 2009
Posts: 148
Location: St. Louis, MO
Schools: Cornell (Bach. of Sci.), UCLA Anderson (MBA)

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20 Sep 2009, 13:34
10
5
Semicolons must go between two independent clauses, i.e. clauses with a subject and verb at a minimum, and which could stand alone as two separate sentences. Why does the semicolon exist? To link two separate sentences that are very related in meaning.
Yuna and her dog are inseparable; her dog even goes to work with her every day.
Larry is having a bad week; his house burned down and his dog ran away.

Colons introduce examples, and must follow a complete, independent clause. You should be able to substitute the words "namely" or "such as" for the colon and have a sentence that makes sense.
I have several favorite flavors of ice cream: cookie dough, bubble gum, and mint chocolate chip.
For the past several years, management has been working to solve the company's problems: high costs, poor distribution, and unreliable machinery.

Commas are used for:
(1) Lists
Beeswax is an ingredient in lip balms, soaps, and candles.

(2) To set off modifiers, particularly inessential modifiers.
The bee, which was buzzing around the flowers, was soon joined by several others.
The horse, an Appaloosa, pranced around the barnyard.

Commas should NOT be used anyplace where a semicolon would work. When you put a comma between two independent clauses, you create a run-on sentence!
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Emily Sledge | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | St. Louis

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##### General Discussion
Manager
Joined: 09 Jun 2008
Posts: 93
Concentration: Finance, Strategy
Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2014
GMAT 1: 730 Q50 V41

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21 Mar 2012, 06:57
Esledge: Thank you. Good explanation
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Giving kudos is the easiest way to thank someone

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Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 5893

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01 Nov 2018, 05:32
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
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Intern
Joined: 20 Sep 2018
Posts: 37

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03 Nov 2018, 13:36
esledge wrote:
Semicolons must go between two independent clauses, i.e. clauses with a subject and verb at a minimum, and which could stand alone as two separate sentences. Why does the semicolon exist? To link two separate sentences that are very related in meaning.
Yuna and her dog are inseparable; her dog even goes to work with her every day.
Larry is having a bad week; his house burned down and his dog ran away.

Colons introduce examples, and must follow a complete, independent clause. You should be able to substitute the words "namely" or "such as" for the colon and have a sentence that makes sense.
I have several favorite flavors of ice cream: cookie dough, bubble gum, and mint chocolate chip.
For the past several years, management has been working to solve the company's problems: high costs, poor distribution, and unreliable machinery.

Commas are used for:
(1) Lists
Beeswax is an ingredient in lip balms, soaps, and candles.

(2) To set off modifiers, particularly inessential modifiers.
The bee, which was buzzing around the flowers, was soon joined by several others.
The horse, an Appaloosa, pranced around the barnyard.

Commas should NOT be used anyplace where a semicolon would work. When you put a comma between two independent clauses, you create a run-on sentence!

I have always struggled with this; thank you for the compilation and the simple explanation. Kudos!
Re: commas,semicolons,colons   [#permalink] 03 Nov 2018, 13:36
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