The colon, : , is a punctuation mark that is used to join related thoughts and is used only when the first thought acts as a prelude to the second.

When to Use It

If your first clause waits to be explained or in some way completed, then you should put a colon in and proceed to give the reader what you've primed us to hear. The basic use of a colon is to signify what is namely. You can also use a colon to introduce a list or series. The colon is also used to introduce a quotatione whe nthe quote is longer than a single sentence.

How It Can Help Your Writing

A colon is almost like a more formal way of using a hyphen. The colon can kind of spice up a sentence and make the reader realize that the writer actually knows what he or she is doing. A proper use of a colon is a good way to demonstrate how you are able to use an abstract punctuation.

Correct Usage

I make a sharp distinction between two kinds of concentration: one is immediate and complete, the other is plodding and only completed by stages.
- Stephen Spender

Starbucks got it right: find a good location, and customers will find you.

The best methods of combatting organized crime are:
1.) Telling the criminals you are not at home.
2.) Calling the police whenever an unusual number of men from the Sicilian Laundry Company begin singing in your foyer.
3.) Wiretapping
-Woody Allen

Incorrect Usage

Will plans on bringing: drinks, food, and silverware.
- The first part is a fragment

I like to play: golf, basketball, and go fishing.
- Separates a verb from the object

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