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*Asterisk = examples of errors or poor constructions*.

Student Learning: Grammar

Using colons & semi-colons - Lesson one


Colons have two closely related functions.

  1. 1.1 Presenting a list or quotation:

    Firstly they serve to introduce a list or a quotation.

The assessment is based on certain criteria: engagement with audience, technical ability, evidence of improvising, and creativity.

The introduction does several things: it sets the tone, provides background information, and explains why the topic is important.

Johnson (2004) offered this perspective: "The birth order of a child in the family is influential" (p. 6).

  1. 1.2 Providing evidence:

    Secondly, colons offer an explanation or evidence of the sentence that precedes it. To check if you have used the colon correctly (for both this use and that of number 1 above) insert the phrase "namely" (or "and that is/and those are") where the colon is; it should still make sense.

Bob had only one thing on his mind: getting out of there.

Severe measures are needed to save the Eurozone: reducing national debt, cutting public sector spending, and curtailing borrowing.

He has taken the first step to recovery: admitting he has a drinking problem..