Why do we need to use correct punctuation? Because it is absolutely essential to writing and expressing ourselves properly and correctly. Everywhere from the workplace to writing emails, documents and even sending text messages, society will always endeavour to adhere to the social norms, that is, what we perceive to be correct. Correct usage and a basic understanding of the fundamentals of English punctuation concerning; apostrophes, semi-colons, commas, dashes, full stops, questions marks, exclamation marks and quotation marks, will lead to an overall much more fluent, comprehensive and respected English. We should strive to meet the social, academic norms, and withstand from letting ourselves become accustomed to writing in English using incorrect and shabby punctuation. Down below, we’ll elaborate and explain with examples over the basic pillars of punctuation specifically targeting: colons.

Colon (:) – Explanations

We use colons before explanations, to give an explicit explanation of thing(s). Remember: it is mainly for explicit usage if you don’t use conjunctions like; because, so but etc

  • I’m thinking of leaving school: to make some money.
  • She went on holiday: to find a boyfriend.
  • I left the windows wide open: to let air in the house for the pets.
  • I won’t be attending the meeting: I have a very serious heart operation.

Colon (:) – Lists 

We use colons to make lists.

  • I need you to go to the supermarket and buy: apples, bread, bananas etc
  • My instructions are as follows: finish the job, then leave town.

Colon (:) – Direct speech

We use colons to report direct speech or to show direct speech. Usually, the direct speech which could be in the form of a quote will bear the person’s name followed by the colon.

  • In Albert Einstein’s words: Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
  • Churchill: never, never, never give in…
  • Aristotle: he who has never learnt to obey cannot be a good commander.

Colon (:) – subdivisions 

We use colons to subordinate or subdivide. Things or people that could be of less importance and need to be subordinated in a sentence.

  • Feelings: love
  • The situation right now: bad
  • Punctuation: colon
  • Numbers: cardinal and ordinal

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