I have been truly impressed by the talented, hardworking people the Prime Concepts Group is made of. With that said, we’ve got some grammar and punctuation issues! And if we do, that means your organization probably does too.
Remember, grammar and punctuation has the power to showcase the professionalism of your organization. A lack of proper grammar and punctuation (yes, even in a quickly typed email or buried within copy on your website) can do the opposite—diminish the perceived professionalism of your organization.
I plan on doing a few “refreshers” with our team. I suggest you and anyone else from your organization who writes at all (nearly everyone!) review this first installment of reminders.
Semicolons usually separate two main clauses that could stand on their own if you wanted them to. The catch is that they must be closely related main clauses.
“I need the report by the end of the day.”
“I will expect it from you by 5:00.”
“I need the report by the end of the day; I will expect it from you by 5:00.”
So why use semicolons? The main reason to use a semicolon is to add some variety to your sentence structure. This is a nice option if you have a large amount of content.
Colons are used after complete sentences to signal that what comes after the colon is directly related to the previous statement. Colons should never be used after sentence fragments. Instead, a colon should be used to expand or clarify on the complete sentence before it.
“Our company specializes in three areas. They are internet marketing, marketing and website design.”
“Our company specializes in three areas: internet marketing, marketing and website design.”
So why use colons? The main reason to use a colon, again, is to add some variety to your sentence structure. Additionally, it helps your reader remember the points you included.
That’s enough for today, but why don’t you make a goal of using a semicolon and a colon properly at least once this week? It doesn’t have to be for anything fancy—these can be used quickly and easily in a memo, email, report, etc. Then let us know what you think! Did using a semicolon or colon add variety and sense of professionalism to your writing? Do you think you’ll start incorporating them on a regular basis?