- What is a colon?
- A colon is used primarily to demonstrate a balance between items on each side of it. A writer uses a colon to introduce a list or to prepare the reader for a quote.
HOT GRAMMAR TIP
If you can place the word "namely" just after the colon and the sentence makes sense, then you are using the colon correctly.
will consist of the following: tuna fish, carrots, and a slice of pita bread.
Explanation: The colon serves as a cue to the reader that write is about to name the items being served.
Many brave people try to live by Eleanor Roosevelt's famous words: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Explanation: The colon tells the reader that the writer is about to introduce a quote.
Caution: The words before a colon must comprise a complete sentence whereas the words after the colon do not need to. However, if the words after the colon do comprise a complete sentence, then the first letter after the word should be capitalized; otherwise, the first letter is not capitalized.