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Grammar and Punctuation: Colons


Colons can be used to join two independent clauses when you wish to emphasize the second clause.

  • I forgot my umbrella: we got soaked.

Colons can be used to introduce a clause that reflects something in the clause preceding the colon.

  • We like several types of movies: romance movies are emotionally moving, but action movies are really exciting.

Colons can be used to introduce lists, quotations, and explanations.

  • I have many different favourite teams: the Oilers, the Flames, and the Blue Jays.
  • U.S. President George Washington once said the following: "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."
  • This is how it happened: I had a quarter for the meter, then I dropped it down the sewer crack, I came out of the store and suddenly, I had a parking ticket!


This guide was created/compiled by Amanda Wills and last updated by Claire Pienaar in 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY NC SA 4.0 International License.

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