We purchased three items[;] a pencil, an eraser, and some rubber bands.
We purchased three items[:] a pencil, an eraser, and some rubber bands.
Semicolon used in place of a colon:
Use a semicolon to separate two complete sentences, as in “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
Use a colon to introduce something that follows, as in “The result: a business boom that lasted nearly a decade.”
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See Error Checklist for a compilation of 75 common writing errors.
For more exercises in identifying common errors,
take the M.B.A. exam and the Punctuation and Grammar Challenges.