When to use a Colon

What is a colon?

A colon is two dots on top of each other, like this :

 

How does one properly use it?

A colon is used to introduce a statement that gives an explanation, a list of items, or a definition.

  • Example: The Girl Scouts asked for the following items: knapsacks, rope, and sunblock.

In this example, the colon is used before the list of items the Girl Scouts will need before their trip.

 

Here are a few more examples.

  • Tired: exhausted, by exertion.

In this example, the colon is used before the definition of the word tired.

 

  • The coffee shop played various genres of music: rock, metal, hip-hop, and jazz.

This example shows a colon being used before the list of musical genres.

 

  • I knew who would win the marathon: Lisa.

Here a colon is used to set up who will win the marathon.