I'm writing a paper that goes something like this:

To quickly summarize MIT is located in Massachusetts FIU is in Florida, The tuition cost for MIT is 45 thousand versus 6 thousand for 30 credits in FIU, MIT....(etc)

My question is, in a situation like this, if I use a : or a ; after "To quickly summarize" or just leave it how it is, how will it affect the text? How do I know when to use ; and : properly?

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    Welcome to writers! Please feel free to have a look at our site tour if you haven't already. Also, I've lightly edited your question so it won't attract close votes for being a proofreading question, something we don't allow here. (I'd welcome further suggestions about the title.) Jul 24, 2017 at 0:59

1 Answer 1


To quickly summarize: MIT is located in Massachusetts; FIU is in Florida.

A colon is used to introduce an explanation or summary, so "To quickly summarize" is followed by a colon.

A semicolon is used between two related independent clauses. "MIT is located in Massachusetts" and "FIU is in Florida" are independent of each other. One does not follow on from the other or depend on the other. When joined in a single sentence, as here where you are comparing the two, you separate them with a semicolon.

You could also structure the second sentence the same way:

The tuition cost for MIT is 45 thousand; 6 thousand for 30 credits in FIU.

There are lots of ways to write sentence that compare two values. If you have several comparisons or the same institutions, as it appears you do here, then the best and most readable way to present them might be as a table.

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