Colons (:) — 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.
Colons (:) — 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.
Colons (:) — 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.
We use the colon (:) for 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
Modal auxiliary verbs:
- Articles (a/an, the, zero article)
- Pronouns: subject, object and possessive
- Question tags
- English conditionals
- Interrogatives in English
- Phrasal verbs
- Prefixes and suffixes
- Reported and direct speech
- Numbers: cardinal, ordinal, and Roman numbers
- The verb: “get”
- ‘Get’ vs. ‘go’ and ‘got’ vs. ‘gotten’
- Copular verbs
- Cleft sentences
- Subjunctive in English
- Vulgar and taboo in English
- Split infinitive
- Emphasis with inversion
- Gerunds in English
- To + infinitive
- Bare infinitive
- British and American spelling