San Jose City College

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  How theColon is used
 Use a colon...                                                                                           Need a dictionary? [Open][Close]

1. to introduce an explanation.
Jill stared at a beautiful nature poster above the TV set, but her captors wanted her to look at a very different scene: graphic images on DVDs of them waging war.
2. to introduce a list of items, but not after the verb be.
Jill will never forget the horrific events: the abduction, her captors' threats, the long detention?
3. to introduce a quotation that is preceded by a very long sentence.
At one of the most desperate moments of her captivity in Iraq, fearing she was about to be beheaded, reporter Jill Carroll pleaded with one of her captors for a quick death by pistol, saying: "I don't want the knife." (SJMN article)
4. to introduce a longer quotation with a sentence. The quotation is separated from the reporting sentence with double spacing.
Jim Carroll, Jill's father, issued the following statement after learning that four Iraqi men had been arrested in connection with Jill's kidnapping:

"We are pleased to hear about the arrest of four individuals believed to be involved in Jill's kidnapping. We are thankful for all the efforts made to bring these men to justice and continue to hope for the safe release of Iraqi hostages and the American hostage Jeff Ake of Indiana."

From the Jill Carroll Update Blog
Note Do not use a colon after such as or for example. Never use a comma after such as.

Example:
Jill most likely craved basic amenities, such as shampoo, a nail clipper, and her own hair brush.

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ESL Program@San Jose City College
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