How do I use a colon?
A colon can be used in several ways. Examples of this are shown below. It is important to make sure that a colon is preceded by an independent clause (a sentence that is grammatically correct on its own) when used in the context of a sentence.
Using a colon to present a list—
• I have four favorite colors: green, blue, red, and purple.
Using a colon to provide more information—
• I’ll tell you what she’s doing: she’s eating our cake!
Using a colon to lead into a quotation—
• Liz Newman stated her thoughts clearly:
o “I have never been so distraught in my life. The actions
of that man are far beyond my comprehension. I
hope they put him away for a long time.”
• Colons are typically used before quotations that are more than seven words long. Otherwise, a comma is appropriate.
Using a colon to show a subtitle—
• Deep Sea Diving: The Mystery Below
Using a colon in a professional introduction—
• Dear Dr. Pecard:
Last updated: October 2007