Grammar Checker

Colon

While colons might look similar to semicolons, they have their own distinct usage. A colon is basically a way of saying "here's what I mean" in punctuation. Let's take a look at the rules for using colons.

Colons Introduce An Item or Series of Items

You should use a colon to introduce an item or series of items. Don't capitalize the first item after the colon, unless it's a proper noun.

  • I went to the store for several items: milk, cereal, and bread.
  • I invited three of my friends to the party: Sarah, Katie, and Amanda.

Don't Use a Colon Directly After a Verb or Preposition

You shouldn't use a colon to introduce a list directly after a verb or preposition.

  • Incorrect Example: Can you grab: bananas, apples, and pears?
  • Correct Example: Can you grab bananas, apples, and pears?

Use a Colon to Introduce a Quotation That Contains Two or More Sentences

Many writers use colons to introduce quotations that contain two or more sentences.

  • Our coach said to us: "Work hard. Remember your training. You can win this game!"

Common Questions about Colon

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