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© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway The colon comes at a point in the sentence where the sentence could come to a complete stop. I’m going to tell you the names of my favorite breakfast foods. We could even put a fullstop after the word “foods,” couldn’t we? In fact, we did.
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway We know, however, what’s going to come after this fullstop. I’m going to tell you the names of my favorite breakfast foods. That’s right, a LIST of breakfast foods.
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway I’m going to tell you the names of my favorite breakfast foods : meuslix, cornflakes, oatmeal, grits and gravy, and yogurt on toast. And the proper punctuation mark to set off this list from what goes before it is a colon. The colon “announces” that a list is about to follow; it is the gateway to that list.
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway My favorite breakfast foods are meuslix, cornflakes, oatmeal, grits and gravy, and yogurt on toast. Would I use a colon in the sentence above? No, because the sentence does not come to a halt here. Instead, the sentence flows right into the list. A colon would not be appropriate here.
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway Examine this next sentence carefully. Our math tutor wants just one thing from us that we try our best. Here, we have an independent thought (ending with “us”). followed by another kind of completer (a noun clause).
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway To set off this completer, this explanation, we can use a colon. Our math tutor wants just one thing from us : that we try our best. These are the two main uses of the colon: to set off a list or an explanation that we know is about to follow the main part of the sentence.
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway We also use the colon to set off a formal quotation. My father was always using his favorite quotation from Yogi Berra : “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
© Capital Community College The semi-colon Separates closely related independent sentences: e.g.My grandmother seldom goes to bed this early; she's afraid she'll miss out on something. The semi-colon allows the writer to imply a relationship between nicely balanced ideas without actually stating that relationship. (Instead of saying because my grandmother is afraid she'll miss out on something, we have implied the because. So the reader is involved in the development of an idea—a clever, indirect way of engaging the reader's attention.)
© Capital Community College The comma Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. e.g. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base." Try it yourself. Insert the comma in the right place in the following sentence: She stood up hugged her boyfriend and ran towards the stage.
© Capital Community College Exclamation Mark! Use an exclamation point [ ! ] at the end of an strong declaration or command. e.g."No!" he yelled. "Do it now!" An exclamation mark may be used to close questions that are meant to convey extreme emotion. e.g.What on earth are you doing! Stop!
© Capital Community College Quotation marks Use quotation marks [ “ ” ] to distinguish which part of the sentence represents quoted or spoken language. e.g. My father always said, "Be careful what you wish for."
The Colon: A Sentence Gateway Adapted by Algonquin College from content provided by Capital Community College and Professor Charles Darling.
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway RULE #1 Between hour and minute. It is 7:15.
© Capital Community College The colon comes at a point in the sentence where the sentence could come to a complete stop. I’m going to tell you the names.
The Colon: a sentence gateway
© Capital Community College The Colon: a sentence gateway The colon comes at a point in the sentence where the sentence could come to a complete stop.
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