Posted by: episystechpubs | July 30, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Colon Q&A

Here’s a Q&A about using colons in the middle of a sentence, brought to you by BizWritingTip.
Question: We are having a debate in the office as to whether you can use a colon after the word “including” in the middle of a sentence. Can you please help us?
Answer:A colon signals to the reader that an explanation follows. You can only use a colon if a complete sentence precedes it.

  • Example (incorrect)
    Our trip covers many countries including: England, France, and Germany.

    Explanation
    The words before the colon (Our trip covers many countries including…) do not form a complete sentence. You cannot use a colon.

  • Example (correct – without a colon)
    Our trip covers many countries including England, France, and Germany.

    Explanation
    The words form a complete sentence and do not require any punctuation after including.

  • Example (correct)
    Our trip covers many countries: England, France, and Germany.

    Explanation
    By omitting the word including, you have a complete sentence.

Contest Reminder
Don’t forget—we’re having a contest to get more folks to read the Editor’s Corner. For those of you who’ve already participated online and entered a Mad Lib, I will be sending your “story” to you. In August, the writer of the funniest contribution will win a prize. Full details are on JHA Today under Editor’s Corner Contest (July 25, 2013).

Kara Church
Senior Technical Editor
619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773
www.symitar.com

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