Commas, semi-colons, and colons

Here's a brief guide on the usage of commas, semi-colons, and colons.

How commas are used

To separate items in a list: "I need to buy apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes."

To set off introductory phrases or clauses: "After finishing my homework, I went for a walk."

To separate independent clauses when using coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet): "She likes to read, and he likes to watch movies."

To set off nonessential information or clauses: "The book, which I bought yesterday, is on the table."

Before coordinating conjunctions in compound sentences: "I went to the store, and I bought some milk."

In dates, addresses, and between city and state: "January 1, 2024" / "New York, New York"

How semi-colons are used

Semi-colons are used to connect two closely related independent clauses that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet): "She likes to read; he likes to watch movies."

They can also be used to separate items in a list when the items themselves contain commas: "The conference attendees came from New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Seattle, Washington."

How colons are used

To introduce a list or an explanation: "There are three things I love: reading, hiking, and cooking."

To separate hours from minutes in time expressions: "The meeting starts at 9:00."

Before a subtitle in titles of books, articles, etc.: "The Great Gatsby: A Novel"

Between a title and subtitle in formal writing: "Programming Languages: Concepts and Paradigms"

Grade 5 punctuation worksheets

In our grade 5 grammar section we’ve created sets of worksheets for students to practice using commas, semicolons, and colons.


Separating items with commas

Students separate three or more items in sentences with commas in these worksheets.

Separating items with commas worksheets


Commas and items in a series practice

Students combine sentences with similar information into one sentence of items separated by commas.

Commas and items in a series


Semi-colon worksheets

Students practice the use of semi-colons in these worksheets.

Semi-colon worksheets


Practice the use of colons

In these worksheets, students separate clauses with colons.

Colons worksheets


Starting sentences with yes or no

Next, students practice starting sentences with yes or no.

Sentences that start with yes or no worksheets


Introductory words with commas

Students work on separating introductory words with commas in these sentence worksheets.

Introductory words with commas worksheets


Practice introductory elements and commas

Similar to the previous set of worksheets, students separate introductory elements with commas in sentences.

Introductory elements and commas worksheets


Writing introductory phrases

These worksheets provide students practice in writing sentences with introductory phrases.

Writing introductory phrases worksheets
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