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Semicolons and Colons Quiz

Look for and note any errors in the usage of colons or semicolons.
Answers with explanations follow the quiz.

1. The Library of Congress is a research library; it doesn't circulate books.

2. The books in the Library of Congress were burned by the British in 1814; the government bought Thomas Jefferson's library of books.

3. The Gutenberg Bible is in the Library of Congress; it's the first great book printed from movable metal type.

4. There are three branches of the United States Government: Judicial, Legislative, and Executive.

5. Outside the Supreme Court there are two seated statues: a female figure representing "Comtemplation of Justice," and a male figure representing "Authority of Law."

6. On the doors you enter the courtroom; you can see the ten commandments.

7. Traveling over the bridge to Arlington Cemetery you can see: Theodore Roosevelt Island.

8. He became the youngest president; ever, at the age of 42.

9. He wasn't the brother of FDR; he was FDR's 5th cousin.

10. He became our 25th president; on the assassination of William McKinley.

Answers and Explanations

1. The Library of Congress is a research library; it doesn't circulate books.
Correct (These closely related independent clauses are separated by a semicolon.)

2. The books in the Library of Congress were burned by the British in 1814. The U. S. government bought Thomas Jefferson's library of books.
Correction made above (These are not closely related independent clauses; the semicolon was replaced with a period.)

3. The Gutenberg Bible is in the Library of Congress. It's the first great book printed from movable metal type.
Correction made above (These are not closely related independent clauses; the semicolon was replaced with a period.)

4. There are three branches of the United States Government: Judicial, Legislative, and Executive.
Correct (The colon introduces a list)

5. Outside the Supreme Court there are two seated statues: A female figure representing "Contemplation of Justice," and a male figure representing "Authority of Law."
Correct (The colon introduces a list)

6. On the doors as you enter the courtroom, you can see the ten commandments.
Correction made above (The semicolon was replaced with a comma: the clause ending with courtroom acts as an introduction).

7. Traveling over the bridge to Arlington Cemetery, you can see Theodore Roosevelt Island.
Correction made (The colon was replaced with a comma: the comma ends an introduction.)

8. Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest president, ever, at the age of 42.
Correction made (The semicolon was replaced with a comma).

9. He wasn't the brother of FDR; he was FDR's 5th cousin.
Correct (These are closely related independent clauses)

10. He became our 25th president on the assassination of William McKinley.
Correction made (The semicolon was removed after president: the words that followed the semicolon did not make up an independent clause).




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