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When it comes to the question of whether to capitalize the first word after a semicolon or colon, the answer is likely “it depends”.
Often, the decision requires identifying the independent and dependent clauses in the sentence. As a reminder, independent clauses, also known as restrictive clauses, contain a subject and a verb and can act as a sentence without additional information; e.g., the sun is shining. Independent clauses present the essential information in a sentence. Dependent clauses, also known as nonrestrictive clauses, may also contain a subject and a verb, but they are incomplete sentences that need an independent clause to make sense, e.g., which is a pleasant surprise. A dependent clause provides non-essential information, and if removed, the remaining sentence would still make sense. Together, independent and dependent clauses create descriptive sentences: The sun is shining, which is a pleasant surprise.
Please see below for an explanation of when to capitalize the word after a semicolon or colon:
American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000
Harnett, C. (2016, January 28). Crofton-area road closed by washout; Trans-Canada traffic flowing. Times Colonist. https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/crofton-area-road-closed-by-washout-trans-canada-traffic-flowing-1.2160792