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Hello,

Does anyone know the rules for using a comma vs. a semi colon in a sentence
such as:

The colors are: (a) red, (b) blue, (c) yellow.

and

The house has: (a) a roof, shingled, and blue color, (b) a kitchen with
sink, range, and microwave, and (b) garage with cement floor, plasterboard
walls, and electronic doors.

Should a semi colon be sued to separate (a), (b) and (c) in either example?

Thanks,

Bob

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Comments  
commas for the first example; colon for the second
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I am under the impression semi-colons are to be used when what follows could be a free-standing sentance. As (b) a kitchen with.... does not have a verb, it cannot be a free-standing sentance and therefore should not be separated by a semi-colon.
Anon, the original post was quite old. However, I'd like to point out another use for the semi-colon: you use it to seperate items in a list when those items contain commas within them.

It was red, white, and blue - only commas because the elements in the list are simple.

The house features a kitchen with X, Y, and Z; a masterbath with a Jacuzzi tub, seperate shower, and Jack-and-Jill sinks; a living room with... etc.
Hello,

Does anyone know the rules for using a comma vs. a semi colon in a sentence
such as:

The colors are: red, blue, yellow.

and

The house has: a roof, shingled, and blue color; a kitchen with
sink, range, and microwave, and; garage with cement floor, plasterboard
walls, and electronic doors.
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Why don't you read my post just above yours and let me know if you still have any questions.
Hi,

A small extra comment.

Don't say 'a roof with blue colour'. Just say 'a blue roof'.

Don't say ''The roof was blue colour'. 'Just say 'The roof was blue'.

Clive
I once read the advice that a semi colon may be used as a strong comma or a weak period. Sometimes an important comma gets lost amidst other commas used for different purposes - as in the case of GG's list example. In those instances I use a semi, to emphasize the more important function normally assigned to a comma.
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