The 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: