Did you notice how I used a colon in the title? As you can see, it exemplifies one of the uses of this handy punctuation mark: to further illustrate what comes before the colon. Don’t capitalize following a colon unless it is a stand-alone sentence. Two examples:
- From the AP Stylebook: He promised this: The company will make good all the losses.
- From GrammarBook.com: Remember the old saying: Be careful what you wish for.
Here’s another reason the gods gave us colons: to make lists:
- The shopping list Fred gave her was convoluted at best: driveway salt, buckwheat flour, 3-4 swim caps, Craisins, new beige sectional, and rainbow sprinkles.
- The best qualities in a date: silence and the willingness to foot the bill.
You can also introduce quotations using a colon:
- Shakespeare said it best: “To thine own self be true.”
- Grandma Frankie’s advice was sometimes confusing: “Don’t give ’em a nickel if you can’t trust ’em with a quarter.”
And last but not least: Use colons for emphasis:
- From the ThePunctuationGuide.com: After three weeks of deliberation, the jury finally reached a verdict: guilty.
- Sherry could only think of one word to describe Gemma: snob.
Have questions? Leave ’em in the comments or shoot me a message. And study up: There’s a quiz tomorrow!