Yes. We’re talking about the punctuation mark ‘:’ and not part of the digestive system! Like many other punctuation marks, it has more than one job.
It can be used to break up a sentence when the second half of the sentence explains, or adds to, the information in the first part of the sentence.
Eventually, he told us his secret: the old beggar was, in fact, a very rich man.
It took all day: only two men were working.
It can be used to introduce a quotation.
Mercutio made his injury sound less serious: ‘Ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch.’
Colonel Mustard said: ‘I’m shocked. I can’t believe that Reverend Green has been murdered.’
It can be used to introduce a list
This country has been involved in many wars: the Civil War, the Napoleonic War, the Boer War, World War One and World War Two.
Remember, if there is something you would particularly like to see covered then please email your requests to
firstname.lastname@example.org with RLS Literacy in the subject header.
Mrs N Bone - Head of English