Colons provide your readers a breath in the form of a pause.

This series of worksheets will explore the uses of these forms of colons that are used as a form of punctuation to give readers a better sense of the intention of the author. Students begin by identifying which form should be used in premade sentences. We then expand to using them in full paragraph forms. As usual, our goal is to have students learn colon use in their own works. We start by having students create their own sentences repeatedly while using colons along the way. The secondary goal in this collection of worksheets is to understand when and how to use semi-colons and grasp the root differences between the two forms of punctuation mark.

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Printable Colon Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and answer key.

Colon or Semicolon Worksheet

Colon or Semicolon?

Read each sentence below. Does it use the correct punctuation? Write correct or incorrect on the line. Then, rewrite the incorrect sentences on the back of this page, using the correct punctuation.

When to Use It Worksheet

When to Use It?

To introduce a list, when the list follows an independent clause. To introduce a quotation when the quotation is not part of an independent clause. To introduce an explanation when the explanation follows an independent clause.

Colons and Semi-colons Worksheet

Colons and Semi-colons

Correct each sentence by adding a the proper form of punctuation where it is needed. It make sense to read these all aloud first.

The Colon Worksheet

The Colon

Place it where it is required within each sentence. Write the number of the rule that applies on the line.

7 Uses Worksheet

7 Ways to Use Them

We review the different ways they are used and then we put it into action.

Own Writing Worksheet

Using It In Your Own Writing

Write 5 original sentences using colons or semi-colons. Follow the prompts that are listed on the worksheet.

What We Know Worksheet

Let's See What We Know

Read each sentence below. Does it use the correct punctuation? Write correct or incorrect on the line. Then, rewrite the incorrect sentences on the back of this page, using the correct punctuation.

Colon or Semicolon Worksheet 2

Colon or Semicolon?

Read each sentence below. Does it use the correct punctuation? Write correct or incorrect on the line. Then, rewrite the incorrect sentences on the back of this page, using the correct punctuation.

Using Semicolons Worksheet

When to Use Semis

Read each sentence below. On the line, write the letter of the function that the semicolon is serving in each sentence.

Pairs of Sentences Worksheet

Pairs of Sentences

Combine each pair of sentences using the needed form of punctuation. There are many different ways to do this properly. Just make sure that all the thoughts come across.

Sentence Rewriting Worksheet

That's Missing Something

Read each quotation. Then rewrite the sentence, using a colon.

Semicolons and Conjunctive Worksheet

Semicolons and Conjunctive Adverbs

A semicolon can be used to separate two independent clauses that are joined by a conjunctive adverb. Write an original sentence for each conjunctive adverb given below. Use your favorite form of punctuation.

Combining Sentences Worksheet

Smash'em Together

Combine each pair of sentences into a single sentence.

Correct Me Worksheet

Correct Me!

Add or delete the required punctuation or write "no correction."

Commas, Colons, and Semi-colons Worksheet

Commas, Colons, and Semi-colons

Select the correct punctuation mark from inside the parentheses.

How to Use Colons in Sentences

When writing, it is imperative to use proper punctuation. One specific punctuation that people often use wrong is the colon. While it may not be as common as the period or the comma, the colon is also an important punctuation that can be very useful in certain aspects. However, the colon can be tricky, and some people use it incorrectly.

What Are They?

A colon is a punctuation that connects two different sentences and resembles two dots positioned vertically (:). Using colons can help introduce information on what preceded the colon. A colon is used to direct the reader to the following information, giving the impression of “as follow” or "which is."

For example, in the sentence “You have two options: eat your vegetables or don’t eat dinner at all.” the colon signals that we are about to learn the two options.

This is one of the most abused and misused forms of punctuation center to the English language. Colons are used to clarify what is meant by the writer. They are a form punctuation that help us introduce an item or series of them. The main objective with their use is to present the information in a much more digestible manner for your readers or audience. The words that follow a colon generally are not capitalized, but if a complete sentence follows the colon capitalization is appropriate to be used. Avoid using colons if they are to be followed by a preposition or verb because it will not flow in an ordinary sentence. Much confusion surrounds the use of colons versus semi-colons. This is because they look very similar but have very different uses. The colon is meant to offer a pause in the reading, usually to introduce related information. The pause adds a sense of a dramatic effect which can impact how your words are valued by your audience. Rather than a simple pause, a semicolon offers a hard stop to the reader. The semicolon is often used to join two clauses that are more commonly separate sentences. In affect semicolons produce a longer overall sentence.

How to Use Them in Sentences?

Colons emphasize, introduce dialogues, introduce lists, and clarify titles.

Emphasis Using Colons

Colons give additional information on the topic previously discussed. The letter of the first word following the colon is capitalized only if it is a noun.

Example: She had only one thought in mind: David.

Introducing Dialogues

Write the name of the person or introduce the speaker before adding the colon, followed by the statement.

Example: He ended with the words of Gandhi: "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind."

Introducing lists

A list often follows a colon and follows the same capitalization rule as we read before: capitalized only if it’s a noun.

Example: In this company, we only focus on three things: punctuality, efficiency, and hard work.

Clarifying Titles

Often, we can see a colon in books, which gives detail on the topic. The trick to this rule is that the sentences on both sides of the colon make sense individually.

Examples: Discussion on the human circulatory system: The functions of the heart and blood vessels.

Misuses of Colon

One of the biggest misuses of colons is when it is used to separate the verb from its object. For example, writing “When I get money, I'm going to buy: a laptop and a mobile phone.” is wrong as it separated the verb "buy" from its subject, 'a laptop and a mobile phone.'

Another mistake that people often make is using incomplete sentences before a colon. Only complete sentences can come before a colon. The trick to this is to consider whether the sentence before the colon can stand and make sense on its own. For example, “I have a lot of chores to do, including washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, and feeding the cats.” should instead be "I have a lot of chores: washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom and feeding the cats."

To Sum Up

Colons are essential punctuations in grammar; if used correctly, they can elevate your writing to new heights. However, colons are also tricky to use as some may confuse the rules.

Hopefully, this article could explain what a colon is and what it is used for. You now know how to use colons in sentences and common mistakes people often make so that you won’t make those mistakes yourself. Still confused? Go over the information above again, and you’ll have a deeper understanding of this vital punctuation tool!