Connectors and an introduction to complex meaning

Other things to watch out for

Punctuation can be used as connectors

We can use punctuation, such as colons and dashes, as connectors. Here's a snippet that uses a dash and a semicolon this way:

You're not going to marry Violet figuratively—you're going to marry her literally! This play won't be pretend; it will be real and legally binding.

The Bad BeginningLemony SnicketSource

How is using dashes and colons and semicolons and the like different from just using full stops or periods?

Different punctuation has different effects (check out the Expressive punctuation lesson pack to explore some of the cool things you can do with punctuation). In this snippet:

  • The dash is used for emphasis.
  • The semicolon is used to show that the two clauses are related—it doesn't specify how; we can use context to work that out ourselves.

Let's try it.

I didn't want to eat raisin toast—raisins are gross! They're so crunchy and slimy; dad should just make regular old toast.

Goblins are weird—they hoard toenail clippings! My friend Gobbo brings his collection to school every day; it's supposed to help him with math class.

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