Colon

We use a colon to introduce a list or a quotation.

When you use a punctuation mark, you need to put a space after it. Don't use a space before the punctuation mark.

Lists

We can use a colon to introduce a list. The clause introducing the list needs to be an independent clause.

An independent clause contains a complete thought. You could write it as a sentence and it would make sense on its own.

Before starting the walk, make sure you have the essentials: water, food, warm clothing, and a hat.

The list of items is introduced by the clause 'Before staring the walk make sure you have the essentials'. This tells us what will be in the list. Notice the colon at the beginning of the list.

Remember to use commas or semi colons to separate items in a list. Learn more about using commas and semi colons.

You can also use a colon to introduce a list with bullet points.

Before starting the walk, make sure you have the essentials:

  • water;
  • food;
  • warm clothing;
  • a hat.

Quotations

We can use a colon to introduce a quotation.

The museum reminded her of a quote by Albert Einstein: "Imagination is more important than knowledge".

The quotation is "Imagination is more important than knowledge". It is introduced by the clause 'The museum reminded her of a quote by Albert Einstein'. The introduction gives us information about the quote. Notice the colon between the introduction and the quotation.

Other Uses

Time

Colons are used when writing the time to separate the hours and minutes.

11:30