What Are Colons? (with Examples)

What Are Colons? (with Examples)

The colon (:) is a common punctuation mark. It is also called the full colon.

Listed below are the uses for the colon.

Use a Colon with an Appositive at the end of a Sentence

You can use a colon to expand on something previously mentioned in the sentence. (The words after the colon are called an appositive.) For example:
  • His influence is obvious in two buildings: the local church and pavilion.
  • (In this example, the local church and pavilion is the appositive of two buildings.)
Read more about using colons to extend a sentence.

Use a Colon after an Introduction

You can use a colon with an introduction. For example:
  • The following were absent: Charles, Smith, Wainwright and Dodds.
Read more about colons used for introductions.
Read about colons used with bullet points.

Use a Colon in References, Ratios, Times, and Titles

A colon can be used as a separator in references, ratios, times, and titles. For example:
  • Read Matthew 2:1 before 07:30.
  • (colon in a reference and a time)
  • The ratio is 6:1 in Nottingham.
  • (colon in a ratio)
  • "Grammar Rules: Writing with Military Precision" is the book of www.grammar-monster.com.
  • (colon in a title)
Read more about colons used in references, times, and titles.

Use a Colon with Quotations

A colon can be used to introduce a quotation:
  • He said: "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
Read more about colons used with quotations.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited and printed to create exercise worksheets.

See Also

What is punctuation? What is an appositive? Colons to extend a sentence Colons for introductions Colons with bullet points Colons with references, times, and titles Colons with quotations Glossary of grammatical terms