Colon

Advice about the colon (:) . . . a full stop on top of a full stop.  It’s different to the semi-colon (;)  which is a full stop on top of a comma.  I never use semi-colons.  In all writing I have ever seen, a comma or a full stop is always better than a semi-colon (in my opinion).  Semi-colons simply make sentences longer.  Semi-colons are beloved by writers who use flowery language and long sentences (in my opinion).  However, the colon has the strong and useful purpose of “introduction”.

Use a colon to introduce a quote.

The Treasurer said: “Watch my lips. No new taxes.”

 

Use a colon to introduce written material.

This is the 231-word summary by Judge Smith:  “XXXXXX etc.”

 

Use a colon to introduce several points.

The government faces two obstacles to re-election: high inflation and a financial scandal.

 

Use a colon when the second part of the sentence is an explanation of the first part.

Bill couldn’t go: he had 47 tasks still to do.

 

Use a colon when the second part of the sentence is a re-statement of the first part.

Nadia looked happy: her smile was wide and her eyes sparkled.

 

Colons are used to dramatic effect, especially in headlines.

Nicole: Tom’s mad!

Tom: Nicole’s a gold-digger!

Leave a Reply