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Using the colon.

1

Which of these is correct?

a) The potion contained: fruit, biscuits and glue.
b) The potion contained fruit, biscuits and glue.
c) The potion: contained fruit, biscuits and glue.
Please select an answerWrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.Correct. There is no need for a colon here.Wrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.
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2

Which of these is correct?

a) You have only one choice: leave now while you can.
b) You have only one choice leave now while you can.
c) You have only one choice. Leave now while you can.
Please select an answerCorrect. A colon works well here.Wrong. There needs to be something to connect the two parts of the sentence.This is grammatically correct, but a colon would also work here.
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3

Which of these is correct?

a) I can see only one thing: the old lighthouse.
b) I can see only one thing the old lighthouse.
c) I can see: only one thing the old lighthouse.
Please select an answerCorrect. The phrase before the colon makes sense on its own.Wrong. Some punctuation is needed here.Wrong. What comes before the colon cannot stand alone and make sense.
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4

Which of these is correct?

a) In the bag were: scissors, a hairbrush and her address book.
b) In the bag were the following: scissors, a hairbrush and her address book.
c) In the bag there were: scissors, a hairbrush and her address book.
Please select an answerWrong. The phrase before the colon does not make sense on its own. Correct. The phrase before the colon makse sense on its own. Wrong. The phrase before the colon does not make sense on its own.
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5

Which of these is correct?

a) Mankind has only one choice left stop burning fossil fuel.
b) Mankind has only one choice left, stop burning fossil fuel.
c) Mankind has only one choice left: stop burning fossil fuel.
Please select an answerWrong. You need some punctuation in this sentence.Wrong. A comma is not correct here.Correct. What comes before the colon makes sense on its own.
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6

Which of these is correct?

a) My favourite breakfast cereals are: corn flakes, frosties and golden nuggets.
b) These are my favourite breakfast cereals: corn flakes, frosties and golden nuggets.
c) My favourite breakfast cereals: corn flakes, frosties and golden nuggets.
Please select an answerWrong. What comes before the colon cannot stand alone.Correct. What comes before the colon can stand alone.Wrong. What comes before the colon cannot stand alone.
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7

Which of these is correct?

a) Our old French teacher used to say: 'Look at the text lad!'
b) Our old French teacher would say: 'Look at the text lad!'
c) Our old French teacher had a favourite saying: 'Look at the text lad!'
Please select an answerWrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.Wrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.Correct. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.
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8

Tick the correctly punctuated sentences.

a) I have only one thing to say to you: 'Get off my land.'
b) The pot contained: sausages, mushrooms and beans.
c) My favourite books are: 'On the Road' and 'The Naked Lunch'.
d) My teacher used to say this: 'Always work hard but not too hard.'
a) Correct. The phrase before the colon can stand on its own.a) Wrong. The phrase before the colon can stand on its own so a colon is alright.b) Well done. You cannot use a colon here.b) Wrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand on its own so you cannot use a colon.c) Well done. You cannot use a colon here.c) Wrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand on its own so you cannot use a colon.d) Correct. The phrase before the colon can stand on its own.d) Wrong. The phrase before the colon can stand on its own so a colon is alright.
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9

Tick the correctly punctuated sentences.

a) These are a few of my favourite things: sausages, beans and more sausages.
b) For breakfast I would like: sausages, beans and more sausages.
c) This would be my favourite breakfast: sausages, beans and more sausages.
d) Could you bring me: sausages, beans and more sausages.
a) Well done. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.a) Wrong. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.b) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.b) Wrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.c) Well done. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.c) Wrong. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.d) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.d) Wrong. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.
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10

Tick the correctly punctuated sentences.

a) We have to stop: polluting the rivers, burning fossil fuels and using our cars.
b) We have to stop doing these harmful things: polluting the rivers, burning fossil fuels and using our cars.
c) These things cause environmental damage: polluting the rivers, burning fossil fuels and using our cars.
d) Our quality of life is damaged by: polluting the rivers, burning fossil fuels and using our cars so much.
a) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.a) Think again. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.b) Well done. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.b) Think again.The phrase before the colon can stand alone.c) Well done. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.c) Think again. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.d) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.d) Think again. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.
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11

Tick the correctly punctuated sentences.

a) The new house was: modern, spacious and luxurious.
b) Our new house looked: modern, spacious and luxurious.
c) I like a new house to be all of the following: modern, spacious and luxurious.
d) All the houses on the new estate were: modern, spacious and luxurious.
a) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.a) Think again. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.b) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.b) Think again. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.c) Well done. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.c) Think again. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.d) Well done. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.d) Think again. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.
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12

Tick the correctly punctuated sentences.

a) Give me: mushrooms, cheese, ham and coleslaw.
b) I love: mushrooms, cheese, ham and coleslaw.
c) I love a huge breakfast: mushrooms, cheese, ham and coleslaw.
d) Bring me a huge breakfast: mushrooms, cheese, ham and coleslaw.
a) Fantastic. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.a) Have another think. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.b) Fantastic. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.b) Have another think. The phrase before the colon cannot stand alone.c) Fantastic. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.c) Have another think. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.d) Fantastic.The phrase before the colon can stand alone.d) Have another think. The phrase before the colon can stand alone.
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Find out about the correct uses of the colon.

See a list of other grammar exercises.