Use of colon and semicolon in OET writing

Use of colon and semicolon in OET Writing
Use of colon and semicolon in OET Writing

Use of colon and semicolon in OET writing

The writing task of OET is to write a formal letter. It is not about how much of a healthcare expert you are or how much you know about the healthcare topic in question. Still, it is more about presenting what you know rather than what is provided in the best possible language. Punctuation means the system of symbols given to a reader to show how a sentence is constructed and how it should be read. Some English punctuation signs have a level of formality; colons and semicolons belong to the formal types of writing. Time has modified the way of using punctuation symbols. It’s understandable why OET aspirants become very concerned about little things like correct punctuation. It’s good to know, though, that it forms only one of the six assessment criteria of OET writing. Language trainers, not medical experts, evaluate the task.so it’s essential to keep in mind that it is ultimately the language that is being assessed.

Colons and semicolons increase the clarity of your OET Writing Sub-test

The use of Semicolon and Colon in OET Writing add clarity to OET letter writing. The effective use of colons can convince your reader that you have a high understanding of punctuations.

The best way to use a colon is at the beginning of a list. For example, a colon can appear before a list of nutritional content items patients need in their diet. It can be any list like a list of symptoms or medication or ways of supporting the patient.

The colon comes at the beginning of the list; a comma separates each item, the final two things separated by ‘and’.

E.g.: consider the sentence “It would be appreciated if you could demonstrate: a safe way to mobilise with crutches, shower and get up from a standing position.”

The colon broadens on the sentence that precedes it, often introduces a list that describes or elaborates whatever was stated previously.

The semicolon is used somewhere between a comma and a full stop. Semicolons are used in English to join phrases and sentences that are thematically linked without using a conjunction. You can also use a semicolon instead of a comma to separate the list items when they already contain commas. 

When you require to provide the reader with extra details, such as the dosage and frequency of the medication, the commas that separate the name of the medicine from its dosage can remain as they retain their practical purpose. 

For example,

  • He takes metformin, 1000mg with his evening meal; lisinopril, 10 mg and atorvastatin, 20mg, both once a day. 
  • The cause of her pain was unknown; therefore, Mrs Trafford was sent to the specialist.

Write lists more clearly with semicolons.

Lists are handy to organise and convey information clearly to the reader. A list is the perfect writing technique. When writing about a patient’s medication,

If the information you are writing into a list is simple, use commas to separate each item.

E.g., “He takes metformin, lisinopril and atorvastatin”.

This sentence is straightforward because the information conveyed is simple, with commas separating the three different medications.

However, as the information you need to communicate becomes more complex, a simple comma based list can be unclear. You must provide the reader with extra details, such as the frequency of the medication and dosage.

E.g., “He takes metformin, 1000mg with his evening meal, lisinopril, 10 mg and atorvastatin, 20 mg both once a day”.

This sentence has no clarity because of all the commas, which indicates that the individual medications no longer appear in the first example.

Exchange commas for semicolons

A semicolon can also be used at the end of the description of each medication; the commas separating the name of the medicine from its dosage can remain as they retain their helpful function. The second example sentence will then explain:

“He takes metformin, 1000mg with his evening meal; lisinopril, 10 mg and atorvastatin, 20mg, both once a day.”

 A comma is used to separate individual items.

For example: “He takes metformin, lisinopril and atorvastatin”.

When you need to provide the reader with extra detail, such as the dosage and frequency of the medication, the commas separating the name of the medicine from its dosage can remain as they retain their helpful function. 

For example: “He takes metformin, 1000mg with his evening meal; lisinopril, 10 mg and atorvastatin, 20mg, once a day.” 

 The patient was overweight; therefore, she was advised about diets.

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