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For this project, I have two goals: make it more efficient, and give it more exposure.

There are two goals I want to accomplish; I want to make it more efficient and give it more exposure.

Which one is incorrect or are both of them wrong? If not wrong, then which one is more common to do?

Thank you!

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  • Yes I do. So can you. Dec 13, 2015 at 4:45
  • Both of them look legit to me. Perhaps,in the first sentence, with a colon, you can write them down in a numbered list.
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 13, 2015 at 5:10

1 Answer 1

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Punctuation is a matter of style, and as such you should be guided by your manual of style. I use the Chicago Manual of Style, which advises as follows:

Use a semicolon to indicate a break in thought larger than that indicated by a comma, especially between independent clauses when a conjunction is omitted.

Use a colon 1) to indicate a break in thought larger than that indicated by a semicolon but smaller than that indicated by a period, especially between two clauses the second of which explains, illustrates, or amplifies the first or 2) to introduce a list of items that do not form a complement or an object in a clause.

So first you have to decide whether CMS is an appropriate reference. If you decide that it is, you then have to decide what you're trying to say. Are you explaining your project goals in a closely related clause? If so, then write

There are two goals I want to accomplish; I want to make it more efficient and give it more exposure.

This is in place of writing, "There are two goals I want to accomplish, and they are to ...."

If you're listing a set of goals then write

For this project, I have two goals: make it more efficient and give it more exposure.*

Notice that per the colon rule part 2, you would not write

For this project, my two goals are: make it more efficient, and give it more exposure.

* Omit the comma between the compound phrases

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