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K12 LibreTexts

11.4: Colons

  • Page ID
    6530
  • Use the colon after an independent clause when it is followed by a list, quotation, or other idea directly related to the independent clause.

    Example 1 - Julie went to the store for some groceries: milk, bread, coffee, and cheese. The colon is announcing a list of items that describes the noun “groceries” in more detail.

    Example 2 - The crier said those dreaded words: “The King is dead! Long live the king!” The colon is announcing a quote that specifies which “words” were said.

    You can also use the colon to join two independent clauses when you wish to emphasize the second clause. The colon in this case announces that the second independent clause will complete the idea set up in the first.

    Example 1 - Road construction in Yoknapatawpha County hindered travel along many routes: parts of Highway 56 and Vienda Drive are closed during construction.

    The colon here announces that the first clause about “road construction” will be completed using the more specific detail from the second clause.

    Review Questions

    For each sentence, insert missing colons or omit incorrectly placed colons.

    1. An ammonia molecule consists of four atoms, one nitrogen and three hydrogen.
    2. George was turned away at the unemployment office they knew he still had a job.
    3. Some say there are traces of mercury in the town water supply: however, tests conducted by the EPA showed negative results.
    4. I know the perfect job for her; a politician.
    5. That street vendor sells everything you could possibly want; churros, hot dogs, and popsicles, for starters.
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