Middlebury

 

Colon

Colons introduce material that amplifies the preceding statement or elements. The element following the colon begins with a capital letter if it is more than one sentence long, a formal statement, or a quotation.

We found this to be extraordinary: young people are very enthusiastic about our study.

The study revealed an unexpected result: Sleep-deprived people are more effective at driving with their eyes closed. Well-rested people are more cheerful.

Do not place a colon in the middle of a sentence, between the verb and object or between a preposition and object.

Wrong: You will need: your best attitude and a good night’s sleep.
Correct:
You will need your best attitude and a good night’s sleep.

Wrong: We will be traveling to: New York, Idaho, and Rhode Island.
Correct:
We will be traveling to New York, Idaho, and Rhode Island.

 

Place a colon after the salutation in a business letter or address or to introduce a list or series:

Dear Alumni and Friends:
Please include the following items in your suitcase: socks, ties, and underwear