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How to Use a Colon in a Sentence

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Do you feel hopelessly lost when it comes to the use of the colon? Does it haunt you in your sleep? Do you find yourself asking questions like 'how do I use this piece of punctuation'? Well, be prepared for a long-awaited restful night and the answers to your undaunted questions. In this wikiHow article, you will learn the importance of the colon and the uses in compound sentences and lists.

When used in punctuation a colon plays the role of introducing.

Use the colon to introduce a list of items in a sentence or a title.

The information before the colon must be a complete sentence

Examples:

  • Omar can only think of one thing: scoring goals.
  • Alberto dreamed of the best way to end the season: winning the championship.
  • Francisco will have two responsibilities during the game: stop the forward from advancing and get the ball up to Ramon x
  • There are three things I love in my life: my family, my friends, and my team.

Tips

  • Try associating colons with lists and other ways of naming things successively, such as a grocery list. For example: “There are so many things I need to purchase for the party: balloons, streamers, food, soda, gifts, and plates.”
  • Remember, there is still need for an ‘and’ before the last word you are listing when using a colon. For example: “There are so many things I need to purchase for the party: balloons, streamers, food, soda, gifts, and plates.”
  • When a colon follows quoted matter, the colon goes outside the quotation marks. For example: "There were three people to whom he sang 'The Girl From Ipanema': his mother, his sister and his best friend."
  • If a colon is followed by a complete sentence, capitalize the first word after the colon. For example: "While in Venice, he did something he had never done before: He took a gondola ride."

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