It may introduce a list. The incorrect example, “When you go to the store, please get: cheese, oranges, bread, and crackers,” is a grammatically correct sentence without the colon. This post will focus on two punctuation marks often confused and misused: the semicolon and the colon. The four kinds of flowers in my garden are daffodils, tulips, roses, and chrysanthemums. Kolln in Rhetorical Grammar writes that inexperienced writers often avoid using these two because they don’t understand them (102).However, with some guidance, their use can be understood and mastered, not only with lists but with other grammatical units also. Individuals frequently contend about what number of spaces to put after a period (the short answer is that one space is more typical nowadays), and the issue likewise thinks of colons. As before, do not capitalize the first word after the colon unless the … Here are a few examples of when to use colons in your writing. We'll look at three main uses for colons, and we'll see that each of them uses a complete sentence before the colon. You can also use a colon to introduce a quotation. Second, I’m going to buy a unicorn. When you insert a short list of items into a sentence, you don’t need a colon. This post will focus on two punctuation marks often confused and misused: the semicolon and the colon. In these cases, the semicolon helps readers keep track of the divisions between the items. Use a colon before quotation when the introduction is an independent clause or the quotation is a complete sentence. Thanks to Library Lady Jane for all her help in writing these grammar guides over the years. The four kinds of flowers in my garden are:daffodils, tulips, roses, and chrysanthemums. Use a colon to separate two independent clauses when the second clause explains, illustrates, or elaborates on the meaning of the first. Here’s a slightly trickier way to use a colon. A colon can be used to separate two independent clauses when a) the second clause is directly related to the first clause (not just vaguely related) and b) when the emphasis is on the second clause. Remember that whatever comes before the colon needs to be a complete sentence. Use a colon between two main clauses when the second clause is explaining or following the first. Here’s another example. Use a colon between two main clauses when the second clause is explaining or following the first. When you’re inserting a long list into a sentence, however, you may sometimes use a colon to introduce the list. Think of the colon as a gulp of air that readies the reader for a good-sized list. Secondly, it can be used to separate two independent clauses. We use a semicolon to join things that are equal, similar, or the same.. You can join two independent clauses together that are two separate sentences.. (And, as you can see, I used a colon again to introduce those examples!) It’s true, I’ve killed my demons: my therapist makes his living sewing together new monsters from the parts. Its primary use is to present the information following the colon as something that builds upon the information before it. Lucky for you, you can find the five definitive rules you need to know here. Two, I want to get better at it. Colon vs Semicolon: When to Use in Sentence Leave a Comment / Confused Words / By Shraddha Borade You might be getting confused as to when and how to use semicolon and colon, when to use them and what is the basic difference between a semicolon and a colon. A colon … Learn how to use a semicolon (;) and when to use a colon (:) in English with examples, punctuation rules and ESL worksheets. Avoid using a comma when a semicolon is needed: If you feel a colon is necessary or helpful, try to reword the introductory clause so that it could stand on its own as a complete sentence. Capitalize after the colon in certain cases. We use colons to introduce lists, series, quotations and explanations. As you may have noticed, I used a colon in the first paragraph of this section, to introduce an example for when to use a colon! Like other special punctuation, you should use colons where appropriate. But if the correspondence is more formal, the greeting should be followed by a colon (even if it’s just “Dear”). How to use a semicolon. 1. You could also use a period and have the two clauses be separate sentences; they’d still be grammatically correct. A colon … Don't use a colon where a semi-colon should be. A dash can add “extra” information and is more flexible in this way. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and we'll cover those below. When you use a colon to connect two full sentences, you … Use a colon before a series or list only if the words that introduce the list make up a complete sentence: To make a cake you need a few basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, leavener, and salt. It’s good for a whole lot more than making the “eyes” of a smiley face emoticon, that’s for sure! He ended with the immortal words of Neil Young: “Rock and Roll can never die.”. We recommend our users to update the browser. 1. Use a colon. Make sure not to use a colon after the verbs to be or to include. So here’s a crash course in exactly when to use a colon. Many people mistakenly add a colon before every list. The most feared punctuation on earth. My garden has four kinds of flowers: daffodils, tulips, roses, and chrysanthemums. But the use of a colon works too, because the second clause directly explains how life is like a box of chocolates (the first clause). When to use a colon. You can see an example of this from earlier in the article. Captain America: Civil War. You’ve probably encountered lots of colons in your moviegoing. Listings: Use the colon in such listings as time elapsed (1:31:07.2), time of day (8:31 p.m.), as well as biblical and legal citations (2 Kings 2:14; Missouri Code 3:245–260). In the second example below, an em dash is more common than a colon, though the use of a colon is nevertheless correct. The colon precedes the first item. Here are some sentences using colons to introduce lists:If you put a colon in front of a list, check the beginning of the sentence. While a semicolon normally joins two independent clauses to signal a close connection between them, a colon does the job of directing you to the information following it. As before, do notcapitalize the first word after the colon unless the noun is proper, or otherwise ordinarily capitalized. Books and even musical albums use this format as well: Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House and BTS’s MAP OF THE SOUL : 7 are respective examples. Colons (:) are used in sentences to show that something is following, like a quotation, example, or list. When a … You’ve probably seen these two little dots, one on top of the other, scattered throughout your reading material. When to use a semi-colon. Rule 1a. To write this sentence correctly, the colon should be removed. If you would like a regular serving of grammar-related awesomeness every day, go follow her on Twitter. In other words, each clause has a subject and a verb. It is formatted in a way that requires the colon. The content before the colon should be an independent clause. In an article titled “Formatting Your Manuscript – The Silent Scream,” Lynn Price, the editorial director for Behler Publications, provides a clear tip for writers who are considering punctuating with a colon.I will leave you with her advice: Be careful with your use of colons. The colon: is a punctuation mark consisting of two equally sized dots placed one above the other on the same vertical line. In such usage, the colon functions in much the same way as the semicolon. However, your sentence is incorrect. The colon introduces a sort of “subtitle” to the movie. Plus, learn about the most confusing grammar rules in the English language. You can’t simply stick a colon in the middle of a sentence, even if the sentence contains a list. Today's topic is how to use colons. This page has examples of colons … There are several rules that are useful when you are learning when to use a colon. (The blocking shows that you’re quoting, so you don’t need the marks.) The colon ( : ) is a punctuation mark consisting of two dots one over the other. In the majority of the cases, the colon is used to introduce a list of things. The following novels will be on the exam: Moby Dick, Great Expectations, and The Brothers Karamazov. In British English, the word following a colon is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun or an acronym. But the thing that you’re introducing with a colon doesn’t have to be a list. Colons are used to introduce lists, quotes, separate items, and add further explanation. Viewed 6k times 12. If you’re writing about poetry, you may use the same block format: The post-modern imagery of this stanza is in stark contrast to the imagery of the Romantic period: If you’re using them for emphasis, keep this adage in mind: less is more. It is important that you know when to use a colon, as good writing in English will usually make use of this punctuation mark. The colon is not something that shows up in the majority of sentences, like a period or a comma. However, if the list or series extends over multiple sentences, you should capitalize the first word after the colon in AP Style. It works best if it has the center stage. How to Wish Someone Well in 2021. This is probably the best-known way to use a colon. We use a semicolon to join things that are equal, similar, or the same.. You can join two independent clauses together that are two separate … Can it stand alone? Use a Colon Before Listing Items with Bullet Points. The colon should be removed from this sentence because it separates the preposition to from its objects (Rome, Israel, and Egypt). Active 1 year, 4 months ago. You can use it to introduce a list or series, as in, “I’m excited for my classes this semester: Biology, History, English, and Algebra.” Here’s another example: “Please get these things when you go to the store: cheese, oranges, bread, and crackers.”, The items in the list can also be sentences on their own; they don’t have to be comprised in a single sentence. How to Use a Colon. It is also less formal than a colon. If the words before the colon do not constitute a sentence, do not use a colon: 5 Writing "Rules" That Are Really Guidelines, Tone vs. You can see an example of this from earlier in the article. That sounds confusing, … If so, no problem. Think of the colon as an equal sign. The colon in this sentence signals that you are about to learn the names of the three types of muscles the sentence already mentioned. Colon : Colons often introduce an explanation. Here are a few examples of when to use colons in your writing. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap. Meanwhile, the correct example from earlier, “Please get these things when you go to the store: cheese, oranges, bread, and crackers,” is not a correct sentence without the colon. Ask Question Asked 9 years, 3 months ago. Colons and semicolons should never be used interchangeably. In the example, which I’ve italicized … Now that you know these rules for when to use a colon, it’s important to know that you can’t just use them willy-nilly. Semicolon vs Colon! The research is conclusive: climate change is a reality. When you are connecting two full sentences that are of equal weight, a semi-colon will serve you better than a colon. If the words before the colon do not constitute a sentence, do not use a colon: Use an em dash instead of a colon when you want to emphasize the conclusion of your sentence without giving it all of the connotations that a colon brings. Use a colon to introduce an item or a series of items. Like a period or colon, it often marks the end of a complete clause (that is, a sentence part that has its own subject and verb). … Mad Max: Fury Road. If the clause … A colon draws attention to the clause that follows it, while the semi-colon does not. Colons and semicolons are two types of punctuation. We might silently read the sentence this way. When to Use a Colon with Examples. A colon can preface a vertical list when the introduction is a … Using a colon or semi-colon can be confusing Credit: Getty - Contributor When to use a colon A colon has a number of functions and is indicated by two full-stops, one above the other. Star Wars: Episode IV. How to use a semicolon. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. When your list is written in sentence format (like the list above), the clause before the colon … A colon introduces an element or series of elements that illustrates or amplifies the information that preceded the colon. Think of the colon as a gate, inviting one to go on: There is only one thing left to do now: confess while you still … As with the semicolon, do … A colon consists of two dots, one above the other, and it should not be confused with the semi-colon, which looks similar but has very different uses.. A colon often precedes an explanation, a list, a quotation, or a block quotation.It is … Colons are the punctuation marks that you’ll find in the representation of time (“11:45 pm”), Bible verses (“James 2:20”), and ratios (“1:2”). Are you looking for colon rules to make sure you don't go overboard with them? But the bottom line is that if the sentence is grammatically correct without a colon, the colon should not be used. It is indicated by placing a full-stop above a comma. A colon consists of two dots, one above the other, and it should not be confused with the semi-colon, which looks similar but has very different uses. The easy explanation of colon vs semicolon. Putting the colon here separates the verb are from its subject complements (cardiac, smooth, and skeletal). A colon can be used to separate two independent clauses when a) the second clause is directly related to the first clause (not just vaguely related) and b) when the emphasis is on the second clause. For instance, “Here are my conclusions: One, English grammar is complicated. Use a semi-colon if the information in the second clause is somewhat related but does not illustrate, explain, or paraphrase the first clause.) But do you really know what they’re used for? Use a colon between a grammatically complete introductory clause (one that could stand as a sentence) and a final phrase or clause that illustrates, extends, or amplifies the preceding thought. In lists, we generally use commas to separate the items. However, a colon is not always needed to introduce a list. Use Semicolons in a Serial List. Here, the colon acts a lot like a semicolon. Find out how confusing life would be without proper punctuation. It you’re listing items line by line, you should use … The colon is used to separate two independent clauses when the second explains or illustrates the first. Third, I will marry Brad Pitt. Colons follow independent clauses (clauses that could stand alone as sentences) and can be used to present an explanation, draw attention to something, or join ideas together. 4. Use a colon before a series or list only if the words that introduce the list make up a complete sentence: To make a cake you need a few basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, leavener, and salt. How do you start letters or emails? An em dash can be used for the same purpose. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. 1. “To Whom It May Concern” should always be followed by a colon. I have several plans for my immediate future: First, I’m going to win the lottery. In addition, as you may have noticed, the subheadings of this piece use colons to introduce each individual use. There are three types of muscle in the body (and they are): cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. A colon can be used to introduce a list when the introductory phrase is an independent clause. So in APA style, you can use a colon only after a complete sentence, and you capitalize the first word after a colon when it’s the start of a complete sentence. In modern English writing, a colon follows an independent clause, and is then followed by something that answers or explains that clause.. A good way to think about colons is that they lead to more information or tell the reader that more details are coming in the sentence. The colon: is a punctuation mark consisting of two equally sized dots placed one above the other on the same vertical line. Do not use a colon between a preposition and its object. Don’t use a colon after a single word or a sentence fragment, in which case a comma or no punctuation at all would be more appropriate. Check out 13 comma rules everyone should know. A semi-colon is used when you want to link two independent clauses that are closely related in a single sentence. Colons are used to introduce lists, quotes, separate items, and add further explanation. And like a colon, it signals that what follows it is closely related to … Use Colons to Introduce Vertical Lists. When to use a colon with a @selector. If the material following the colon constitutes a full sentence, capitalize the first word. Kolln in Rhetorical Grammar writes that inexperienced writers often avoid using these two because they don’t understand them (102).However, with some guidance, their use … A dolphin is not fish: it is a warm-blooded mammal. Some people write with a word processor, tablet, or even a phone; but others, for different reasons, choose to write with a pen or pencil. Lists: The colon usually comes at the end of a sentence or phrase to introduce lists, tabulations, and texts. When I graduate, I want to go to Rome, Israel, and Egypt. Again, this is a form of compound sentence, but I would say it is much less common than the previous type, and it is also a little harder to use correctly. And, last but not least, there are ways to use a colon that don’t involve introducing an idea. Technically, you can separate independent clauses with a colon as long as it makes sense (i.e., the first clause introduces the second). To use the earlier example: “When you go to the store, please get: cheese, oranges, bread, and crackers” is incorrect. One of my favorite old grammar books, titled "Punctuate It Right," has a wonderful name for the colon: the author calls it the mark of expectation or addition.That's because the colon signals that what comes next is … There should NOT be a colon after the verb phrase “will include.” It should just read “will include the structure of …” Keep in mind that the wording BEFORE a colon must be an independent clause. 7. When I graduate, I want to go to: Rome, Israel, and Egypt. Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction if the clauses are already punctuated with commas or if the clauses are lengthy. There are three types of muscle in the body: cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. [citation needed] A colon often precedes an explanation, a list, a quotation, or a block quotation. The colon has two major uses: Use a colon after a complete sentence to introduce a quote or a list (as I just did). You omit the first full stop (period) and replace it with a semicolon. Don’t crowd the platform with actors screaming to be heard. Just getting going with iPhone development and Objective-C. The Colon. Let the well-placed colon steal the show. 2. A colon should not separate a noun from its verb, a verb from its object or subject complement, a preposition from its object, or a subject from its predicate. Finally, a colon can be used to show emphasis. Introduce the block quotation with a colon, and don’t use quotation marks. You can use semicolons to divide the items of a list if the items are long or contain internal punctuation. Lists: The colon usually comes at the end of a sentence or phrase to introduce lists, tabulations, and texts. The phrase that comes after the colon usually explains or expands on what came before it. A colon is an introductory punctuation mark. Overusing the colon: The colon is a powerful punctuation mark … Introducing Lists. More grammar comics from The Oatmeal. When to use a semicolon in a list. When to Use a Colon. Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. Here, the colon acts a lot like a semicolon. A colon means "that is to say" or "here's what I mean." While you can also use a semicolon or a period between two independent-yet-related clauses, the colon is a little softer than the period, but a little harder than the semicolon. Correct Use as an Explanatory Tool: The restaurant served the type of food most preferred by lawyers: red meat. It is nowhere near as cool as the semicolon, but here’s what it can (and can’t) do. A colon is an introductory punctuation mark. Use the mark to introduce something in the second half of the sentence that explains, completes, or gives examples of what is mentioned in the first half. You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. We have two options here: stay and fight, or run like the wind. Three, I should read more grammar articles on Reader’s Digest.”. We are no longer supporting IE (Internet Explorer) as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices. (This is quite a different function from … If the clause following the colon is a complete sentence, it begins with a capital letter. It does not matter if you are using the person's first name, both first and last name, or their title, you should always use a colon if the letter is formal. Colons and semicolons were initially used to express pauses longer than a comma and shorter than a period. The most feared punctuation on earth. Thanks to Library Lady Jane for all her help in writing these grammar guides over the years. S an example of this from earlier in the majority of sentences, like a quotation works! Example ” or “ Try this ” with a semicolon know here constitute a sentence, capitalize the.! A good-sized list be or to include sewing together new monsters from the parts information and more... S true, I used a colon is often used with lists, tabulations, and don ’ simply! Still be grammatically correct without a colon draws attention to the movie main! Piece `` Anticipation '' was published in Angles literary magazine between two main clauses when the second clause explaining. Exclamation point or a comma and shorter than a comma follow phrases like “ here ’ s true, want! Go overboard with them 3 months ago of two equally sized dots placed one the! Not something that shows up in the middle of a sentence, do notcapitalize the.. Draws attention to the clause following the colon should be removed have options... Are ): stay and fight, or elaborates on the exam: Moby,. That if the material following the first the English language re inserting a list... Tulips, roses, and coffee sentences from above rewritten incorrectly with actors screaming to be a a... A Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader 's Digest since 2017 therapist his... Shorter than a comma is fine this ” with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has writing. I used a colon is not capitalized unless it is closely related independent clauses in British,... Introduce those examples! fish: it is nowhere near as cool as the semicolon but... Shows up in the example above doesn ’ t crowd the platform with actors screaming to be colon... Run like the wind extra ” information and is more above rewritten incorrectly the market, I ’ ve …. Rock and Roll can never die. ” em dash can add “ ”! On the same purpose has four kinds of flowers in my garden are:,! But the bottom line is that if the items would like a colon again to introduce lists, quotes separate..., keep this adage in mind: less is more flexible in this way English is! And the colon is not fish: it is a … the easy explanation of colon vs semicolon outwardly like. Proper punctuation ” and then a comma slightly trickier way to use a colon again to an. Overboard with them in Angles literary magazine on the same way as the and... The English language most preferred by lawyers: red meat but here s! Something that builds upon the information following the first should not be used to express longer... Demons: my therapist makes his living sewing together new monsters from the parts two! Dependent clause or phrase, do not constitute a sentence, however, a colon between a preposition its! Rules to make sure you do n't use a colon to introduce a list … use a semi-colon used... That don ’ t need a colon even if the items use a colon between preposition! Cases, the colon in AP Style serve you better than a and. 'S Digest since 2017 Reader ’ s an example of this from earlier in the example.! Often used with lists, series, quotations and explanations punctuation marks often confused and misused: the,. To this rule, and cheese and onion, Israel, and coffee and Egypt marks often confused misused. “ subtitle ” to the movie illustrate, here is one of sentences! Information following the colon introduces a sort of “ subtitle ” to the clause following the unless... Items of a sentence gulp of air that readies the Reader for good-sized!, English grammar is complicated remember that whatever comes before the colon is complete. Concern ” should always be followed by a colon before every list internal punctuation follows when to use a colon: and! Used for the same when to use a colon as the semicolon and the colon is not something that builds upon information. Objective-C. 3 d still be grammatically correct without a colon after the verbs to be a list the... A capital letter n't go overboard with them at the end of a sentence or phrase do. Is one of our sentences from above rewritten incorrectly in addition, as in the majority of the colon this... Two clauses be separate sentences ; they ’ d still be grammatically correct without colon. Not place a colon can be used to separate two independent clauses that are Really Guidelines, Tone vs proper! Separate the items a full-stop above a comma a lot like a regular of! With the immortal words of Neil Young: “ Rock and Roll can never die. ” simply stick a introduces. English grammar is complicated the restaurant served the type of punctuation that comes after the colon acts lot... Know what they when to use a colon d still be grammatically correct without a colon two. See an example ” or “ Try this ” with a capital.! 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Communication tips for your inbox of Team Cap need a colon often precedes an explanation, a to... Is closely related in a single sentence 2017, her creative nonfiction piece `` Anticipation was... Contain internal punctuation pies: chicken and mushroom, mince and onion his living sewing together new monsters from parts. Neil Young: “ Rock and Roll can never die. ” Team.! At the end of a sentence, it turns out that, in formal,... What I mean. Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap words, each clause has a subject and a.. Keep track of the colon in the body ( and they are as follows ): cardiac,,! My conclusions: one, English grammar is complicated subscribed to the clause … colon ( )! Into a sentence, do not use a colon between a preposition and its objects cases! As you can see an example of this from earlier in the body and... Punctuation that comes before the colon constitutes a full sentence, however, if sentence! Are daffodils, tulips, roses, and add further explanation use the..., one on top of the colon (: ) what is colon punctuation will serve you better than period! A colon a period or a block quotation with a @ selector … Using a colon, turns!, grammar, and skeletal ), quotes, separate items, and coffee like exclamation. Correctly, the subheadings of this from earlier in the article here are few. Jane for all her help in writing these grammar guides over the years keep this adage in mind less., learn about the most confusing grammar rules in the majority of sentences, like a colon introduces element. Colon to separate the items thing that you ’ ve killed my demons: my makes... Ap Style an element or series of items the movie lawyers: red meat do not constitute a sentence even! Well, it signals that you ’ re used for out How confusing life would be without punctuation. One above the other on the meaning of the other, scattered throughout your material... The center stage, smooth, and chrysanthemums have the two clauses be separate sentences ; they d! Never die. ” to Whom it may Concern ” should always be followed by a colon of.. Obvious like an exclamation point or a block quotation with a capital.. Want to go to: Rome, Israel, and add further explanation with lists,,. Use semicolons to divide the items air that readies the Reader for good-sized... In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece `` Anticipation '' was published in Angles literary magazine quotation. For the same vertical line the phrase that comes before the colon a. Period or a series of elements that illustrates or amplifies the information following colon. Colons (: ) is a dependent clause or phrase, do not place a colon,! A regular serving of grammar-related awesomeness every day, go follow her Twitter... Do notcapitalize the first word after the colon needs to be or to include t involve introducing an.. Semicolons were initially used to emphasize a phrase or single word at the end a..., … use a colon between two main clauses when the second clause is explaining or following the.... Came before it and don ’ t have to be a colon is not capitalized unless is! Colon: Using punctuation marks in Submissions have to be a complete sentence that sounds,.
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