Colon (:)

There are three main uses of the colon:

  • between two main clauses in cases where the second clause explains or follows from the first:

That is the secret of my extraordinary life: always do the unexpected.

It wasn’t easy: to begin with, I had to find the right house.

  • to introduce a list:

The price includes the following: travel to London, flight to Venice, hotel accommodation, and excursions.

The job calls for skills in the following areas: proofing, editing, and database administration.

  • before a quotation, and sometimes before direct speech:

The headline read: ‘Taxi Driver Battles Gangsters’.

They shouted: ‘Our families are starving! We need land!’

Back to punctuation.

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Semicolon (;)

Inverted commas

Apostrophe


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Grammar and usage