This page was first published on the 5th of April, 2014 and last updated on the 2nd of April, 2017 by Patrick Carpen.
The colon is a punctuation mark or punctuation device which helps writers to better express themselves. The colon is placed at the end of the first part of a sentence to indicate that what is coming next will “prove” or “support” what was said in the first part of the sentence.
Here are some examples:
John is a really fast runner: he won all the races.
Mary is really intelligent: she answered every question correctly.
Don’t think anyone gets away with doing evil: God never sleeps.
A colon is also used to precede a list of items after the first part of a sentence.
I want the following items: pencil, eraser and writing pads.
The Colon: Pointing Forward
The colon serves notice that something “fulfilling” is coming.
Here is an example:
I bought the following: mangoes, pineapples and oranges.
The colon points forward. The colon suggests that what will follow will fulfill the statement that went before.
Use of the Colon: Examples:
Noreen studied the note which read as follows: Meet me at the Rodeo Ground at Two O Clock.
The Rodeo featured the following attractions: bull riding, horse racing and a pageant.
In addition there were lots of activities and games to take part in: roller coasting, dancing, Shoot the Prize and Trap the Bottle.
Noreen figured it out as follows: Aaliyah likes dancing, so I’ll meet her at the Dancing Hall.
But Noreen was disappointed for this reason: Aaliyah was not there.
Noreen looked in these likely places: the main building, the grandstand, the midway and even the stables.
She questioned the following school friends: Natasha, Meckella and Ave.
They all gave her the same response: No sign of Aaliyah.
As the day grew hot, Noreen decided to act as follows: she would rest under a shady tree.
Her decision brought her good luck in this way: her friend was somewhere close to the tree.
Here is what Noreen found: Aaliyah and Shelly were pitching horse shoes.