“I can clean out your colon faster than one of those burritos with extra guacamole sauce!”—Damon Wayans, rivalling Shakespearean prose, as Major Payne
This week, we explain how to use colons.
Along with commas, colons stand among the most commonly misused punctuation marks. Well, get ready: It’s time to snap on our latex gloves, reach deep into the slimy, obsidian recesses of ignorance, and scrape out the polyps of misinformation. Take a breath and relax, because here it comes … but don’t worry, mastering the colon is easier than it sounds.
We’ll start exploring colons by laying out two simple guidelines. First, use a colon only after a complete sentence—never after a fragment. Second, capitalize the first word after a colon only if it is a proper noun or the start of another complete sentence.
Following those simple rules, colons have four common uses:
A: The guy who looks like that frog from Cameroon!
Now you’ve got clean and clear comprehension of colons. That wasn’t so bad now, was it?