28 Nov 2008
Using the colon correctly will amaze your friends and impress your colleagues. Hey, it may even get you a promotion.
The colon has two main uses:
1. It lets you know that what follows is an explanation or an elaboration of what came before
You need to know one thing about English cricket: we can’t bat to save our lives.
I’ll tell you what I’m going to do to get fit: go to the gym every day.
2. It introduces a list
Searching down the back of the sofa I found a load of treasures: two sweets, 55p, a biro lid, and the remote control.
You need to bring three things to the meeting: a note pad, a pen, and a sense of humour.
Remember that the words before the colon must form a complete sentence. Put a full stop instead of a colon to check the sentence can stand alone.