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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.
English courses

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

See also