Colons

A colon introduces sentence elements that explain, illustrate, or amplify portions of a sentence. They should be used to

  • introduce a series following an independent clause (complete sentence) 

    I like action movies best: Independence Day, Escape from LA, Con Air.

    Note: If an independent clause does not introduce the series, a colon is NOT used:  Correct: My favorite movies are Independence Day, Escape from LA, and Con Air. Incorrect: My favorite movies are: Independence Day, Escape from LA, and Con Air.

  • after "as follows" or "the following" to introduce a statement or series

    My favorite movies are the following: Independence Day, Escape from LA, and Con Air.  

  • to announce a second independent clause that explains the first, or emphasizes a causal or contrasting relationship between the clauses.

    His meaning was clear: We would attack the enemy before the end of the year. 

  • to introduce a long or formal quotation

    In 2000, J. K. Rowling wrote in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "Remember, the time will come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy."

Gain extra practice using the StudyMate activities below.

Set 1


Last Updated: 8/29/13