|Grammatically Correct 7/27/04
A weekly grammar tip created by Academic Center Peer Writing Tutors.
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson
Victoria, TX 77901
|Using Colons Correctly
by David Felts
The correct use of colons makes writing clear and instills confidence in the reader concerning the writer’s ability to convey information and meaning. Remember the following rules when using colons:
Using Colons within Sentences: The Grammatical Use of the Colon
When colons are used in sentences to introduce a series or quotation or to connect two independent thoughts, the colon must be preceded by an independent clause.
A colon may introduce a series; remember that an independent clause is necessary before the colon.
Ex: There are three things necessary for our picnic: food, blanket, and fly swatter.
A colon may be used to introduce a supporting or contributing quotation.
Ex: Emile Augier has written about the pains of growing older: “Wrinkles are beds that the gods have dug for our tears."
A colon may be used to join two independent clauses if the second interprets, explains, or amplifies the first.
Ex: Joe has a fear of cars: He was once in a tragic accident.
The capital letter after the colon is optional.
Using Colons for Titles and Salutations: The Conventional Use of the Colon
A colon may be used between titles and subtitles. (Notice how the information that follows the colon amplifies what comes before it.)
Ex: Basic Goodness: A Tibetan Buddhist Approach to Being a Better Person
A colon may be used after the salutation of a formal letter.
Ex: Dear Mr. and Mrs. Goldstein:
Definition is from Dictionary.com.
|Recommended Grammar Website of the Week
by Shawn Brett
|In addition to our own website,
this week we recommend Punctuation
Made Simple. Punctuation Made Simple is a site dedicated
to explaining some of the not so common punctuation marks, such as colons,
dashes, and apostrophes. This site helps writers understand how to
use each of these punctuation marks appropriately and effectively in order
to improve their writing.
For more information about colons, visit Punctuation Made Simple's webpage
|Test Your Knowledge
by David Felts
|Test your understanding by correcting the following sentences.
1. Melissa has: two cars and one house.
2. Clark is more than he seems, he is Superman.
3. Voltaire has a powerful quote about unnecessary things “The superfluous is so necessary.”
4. Time, A Topic of Perception
5. Dear President Conrad,
1. Melissa has the following: two cars and one house.
2. Clarke is more than he seems: He is Superman.
3. Voltaire has a powerful quote about unnecessary things: “The superfluous is so necessary.”
4. Time: A Topic of Perception
5. Dear President Conrad:
Comments about this newsletter should be directed to Summer Leibensperger, firstname.lastname@example.org.