S: The Colon
FC: The Colon | By Delaney Doran | Courtesy of CartoonStock.com
1: The colon has been around since 1473, when English printer William Caxton published one of the first in his book Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1473). | The colon has several different uses, which makes it easy to use incorrectly. | For example...
2: Miramax's Ella Enchanted on DVD
3: The center of the movie description on the back of Ella Enchanted requires a colon. This is incorrectly punctuated because there should be a colon where the dash is. The only difference between a dash and a colon is direction; a dash references something that was already mentioned, while a colon sets up the reader for something approaching. The sentence should read "On the day of her birth, Ella is given a gift from her Fairy Godmother: the gift of obedience, which is also a curse."
4: Photo taken by Darcy Johnson on an Indian Reservation east of San Diego. Courtesy of National Punctuation Day. com | These two photos need colons in order to clear up their meanings. Without a colon, the signs seem to be hinting at particularly sluggish avocados on the road ahead and lambs that don't walk as quickly as they should. Both signs need colons after the first word ("Slow: Avocados Ahead" and "Lambs: Slow"). This separates the command from the subject of the sentence, and clarifies the statement.
5: Photo taken by Delaney Doran at Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England.
6: From "What Sank the Titanic? A Forensic Analysis" by Nick D'Alto for Odyssey published April 2012.
7: This colon is used incorrectly. The sentence before the one with the colon could have a colon on the end for the purpose intended. The author wanted to lead into the points he would present, but because "They include" is not a sentence, he cannot put a colon there and be grammatically correct. The article could read "Over the years, arguments have been made for a variety of technology based failures on the great ship:" and then gone on to list them.
8: Photo taken by "Becky" at Trader Joe's in Brookline, Massachusetts. Courtesy of ApostropheCatastrophes.com
9: This is one of the most frequently made colon mistake. Colons are used to introduce items, however, the first half of a colon must be able to stand as a complete sentence. "Come in and meet" is a sentence fragment, therefore, this colon is not needed and is used incorrectly.
10: Kristen Graham's article "Up in the air over the ride of a lifetime" published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 21, 2012
11: "Our ride was lovely -- placid and relaxing, a 30-mile-per-hour cruise around downtown Akron." | This author had a tendency to overuse dashes; one can observe six in this picture alone. In this case, the author used the dash when there should be a colon. She says the ride was "lovely" and then proceeds to explain what made it "lovely." This sentence should have a colon.
12: Uses temporary pain relief helps relieve and soothes pain from sunburn, minor burns, cuts, scrapes, skin irritations and insect bites.
13: Drug Facts on a bottle of Aloe Vera Cooling Gel | Several colons are necessary on the back of this bottle One should definitely be placed after "Uses" because there is a list that follows (in bullet points on the bottle). There should also be a colon following "soothes pain from" because again, the bottle proceeds to list things that the gel works to heal.
14: This is a headline from a Yahoo! News page on the 5th of July, 2012.
15: There are two punctuation marks that never go inside of quotation marks: colons and semi-colons. The colon should be outside of the quotation marks.
16: Photo taken by Brian Christie in Los Angeles, California of the nutrition information on a package of mangoes. Courtesy of National Punctuation Day.com
17: The colon is known widely to introduce lists, which is one of the more mundane but easy to employ uses. It's quite simple: place a colon before listing anything, like ingredients.
18: Advertising sticker from a Student Driver magnet
19: There is more than one thing grammatically wrong with this sticker, one being the need for a colon. Besides the capitalization of random words in the sentence, the phrase "Attention Parents & Grandparents" needs a colon after it. The phrase following is what the advertiser is trying to get the consumer's attention for. (Also, the two statements after should be combined into one.) The sticker should read: "ATTENTION PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS: Alert other drivers you are learning to help avoid honking and tailgating."
21: If this movie title was written anywhere else it would read "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." But apparently, the company decided the colon was unnecessary for the movie poster. It might take away from the rest of the poster, but it is grammatically correct to have a colon there.
22: Luckily, most people do understand when to use a colon, and when not.
23: These writers and editors were able to apply the colon correctly:
24: The Dark Knight Rises STARRING: Christian Bale Anne Hathaway Bale is back as the brooding crusader, and he's got company: As Catwoman, Hathaway "had to do all the fights and running the guys did," says producer Emma Thomas. "But in heels!" | From People Magazine's Summer Movie Preview May 21, 2012
25: Here the colon is used twice, both correctly. The first time to introduce the actors who star in the movie in a list. The second time, to elaborate on the company in question. The capitalization after the colon is more of a style choice, and is used only when the information following the colon is a complete sentence.
26: Quote from spoken word poem "Repetition" by Phil Kaye, posted on YouTube on September 22, 2011. Accessed August 20, 2012.
27: This usage of the colon is correct. The author employs the colon to explain what the trick his mother taught him was. The colon delivers to the readers what the author promised before the colon.
28: Taken by Delaney Doran at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.
29: This colon was used correctly to introduce a long quote on a sign at
30: Screen shot and text from "Greatness!" by Phillip DeFranco, posted on YouTube on August 7th, 2012. Accessed August 9th, 2012.
31: Popular Internet personality Phillip DeFranco correctly used the colon when speaking about greatness in reference to the recently released Nike commercial.
32: Charles Krauthammer's article "Paul Ryan is GOP's future" published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 20, 2012.
33: "It's a sweet judo throw: Want to bring up Medicare, supposedly out weakness?" | This usage of the colon is correct. The author states there was a "sweet judo throw" and uses the colon to then explain what he means by this.
35: John Himmelman's book Wanted: Perfect Parents correctly utilizes the colon in an ad-like format. The first half sets up the need, the second half satisfies it.
36: Quote from "Douglas Faces Tougher Side of Fame" by Bill Reiter for Fox Sports on August 7th, 2012. Accessed August 8th, 2012.
37: A colon can be used to elaborate on a single word that an author chooses to use. In this case, Reiter uses the colon to explain what "fame" means in terms of Douglas' new situation.
38: Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
39: Evelyn Waugh uses a colon here to introduce a list: the "rest" that she intends to talk about. This is one way authors have adapted to using colons in their writing , but in a way that isn't a dull list of object. Rather, Waugh uses the list to describe how the important things have become trivial to her.
41: This sign leading out of Montgomery County Community College left the factory and was erected punctuated improperly. But one day, some grammar stickler armed with a permanent marker drew in a colon and a question mark where they should be.
42: From an episode of The CW's "H8R", posted on YouTube on September 22, 2012. Accessed August 12, 2012.
43: Even Scott Disick knows how to properly employ a colon. He promises to deliver a certain piece of information, and then delivers it after the colon.