Linking function of the colon | The Colon and semicolon | Punctuation | Khan Academy | Summary and Q&A

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April 17, 2019
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Linking function of the colon | The Colon and semicolon | Punctuation | Khan Academy

TL;DR

The colon is a punctuation mark that links two parts of a sentence and can introduce lists, items, and quotes.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the purpose of the colon in a sentence?

The colon is used to link two parts of a sentence, such as independent or dependent clauses, phrases, or words, when there is a strong connection between them.

Q: Can the colon introduce a list?

Yes, the colon can introduce a list, as shown in the example sentence: "We needed to find three more items on the scavenger hunt: a four-leaf clover, a cauldron, and an abandoned ship."

Q: How does the colon introduce an item?

The colon can introduce an item in a sentence, like in the example: "I only wanted one thing from the grocery store: peanuts."

Q: When should a colon be used instead of a comma or a semicolon?

A colon should be used when the second part of the sentence explains the first part or when the second part is emphasized. This usage is less common and usually, a comma or semicolon is used to link independent clauses.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The colon is used to link independent or dependent clauses, phrases, or words when there is a strong connection between them.

  • It can introduce lists, items, and quotes to provide missing information or emphasize a second part of the sentence.

  • While the colon is rarely used to link two independent clauses, it is important to know its linking function.

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