Examples of when to use a colon:

My question is this: When did you go?

These were the three items I brought: an apple, an orange, and a banana.

I'm going to read the following passage from your deposition:
Question: "What time did you get there?"
Answer: "I got there at 8:30, but we left soon after
and came in an hour or two later. So we really didn't
get there till midnight."


If you have any questions or rules to share about how and when to use a colon, share them here. Thanks for participating in our little group!!

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Below is a really good discussion on colons which I copied and pasted from the main page:

Comment by Marla Williams 29 minutes ago Delete Comment For what it's worth, I found a rule from my little grammar and punctuation book I got in court reporting school, "Court Reporting: Grammar and Punctuation," by Diane Castilaw-Palliser.

Rule 260:
Use a colon to focus the reader's attention on what follows.
"My question is simple: Were you there or not?"
"There is one issue that we must resolve: Is the defendant guilty or not?"

Rule 266:
With certain introductory phrases and clauses, a colon offers greater clarity than other marks of punctuation.
"So that I make myself perfectly clear, Mr. Purcell: Were you or were you not employed by them on May 10, 1985?"
"Tell me one thing: Where were you that evening?"
"Before we proceed: Are you aware of the time?"

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Comment by Veronica Kubat 34 minutes ago Delete Comment I mean, "too weird."
Okay, this is getting ridiculous.
V.
:0\
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Comment by Brenda Rogers 34 minutes ago Delete Comment LeAnne, that's how I learned it, with the colon. The first part, "The questions is," is a sentence, calling for a period; the second part is a question, calling for a question mark. In this case, because of the intervening "my question is" in the middle of the entire question, I'd go with a comma.

Marla, yours came in as I was typing this up. I'd surround "my question is" with commas because without it is the actual question: With the major change, how do airports create a viable plan?

Why the HECK do attorneys feel they need to say "my question is" when DUH! of course it's a question!?!?!?! Comment by Veronica Kubat 35 minutes ago

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Delete Comment "With the major change, my question is how do airports create a viable plan?"

To weird?

Veronica

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Comment by Marla Williams 43 minutes ago Delete Comment Normally I use a colon after an introduction like "My question is this" or "My question is: How do airports create a plan?"

But since the phrase "with the major change" comes before the introduction, it changes things. You shouldn't separate an introductory phrase from the main clause with anything other than a comma.

My vote is to do it this way:
With the major change, my question is how do airports create a viable plan? Comment by LeAnne Law 48 minutes ago Delete Comment Kyung, I appreciate the grammar lesson. School was so long ago that I need a refresher course on parts of speech. I don't even remember hearing about a "predicate nominative clause."

I always go to my trusted Morson's. In this case, Rule 31:

"If the question is to be quoted because it appears elsewhere in the transcript and is being restated, a colon may introduce the question and the sentence ends with a question mark. Commas could also be used...and the effect is to make the question less formal."

"If the question is introduced by the verb to be but has a word that completes the verb placed before the actual question, only the colon is correct to separate the two elements."

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Comment by Cynthia Dunbar 1 hour ago Delete Comment Kyung,

I would also punctuate it the way you do. I would use a comma to set off the prep phrase and then use an interrog at the end.

Regarding the colon situation, I was taught that the colon should really only follow a COMPLETE sentence. So it works if the person says, "With the major change, my question is THIS: How do airports create a viable plan?" But without "this," Option B doesn't work well for me.

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Comment by Kyung 4 hours ago Delete Comment I took a grammar class at the NCRA annual convention, and the instructor said that you really shouldn't be putting any kind of punctuation between is and the item that comes after it. "How do airports create a viable plan" is the predicate nominative clause.
So make it simpler. You wouldn't put an comma or a colon between is and a girl. A girl is a predicate nominative redefining the cat.
The cat is a girl.

Just because it's now a predicative nominative clause doesn't mean you would go and add a comma or colon between the is and the how.
In this case is is a linking verb. Forgive the use of the double is's.
So to parse this puppy, so to speak.

The noun clause is my question is how do airports create a viable plan.
The prepositional phrase is with the major change which is modifying how the airports create a viable plan.

Most basic sentence structure should be subject + verb + direct object/indirect object. But then you can modify practically with other stuff.

So the basic sentence is “How do airports create a viable plan?” Right? The other stuff is kind of fluff.

The prep phrase can be put anywhere in front or behind the basic sentence above. If it is put behind, you probably wouldn’t need a comma.

How do airports create a viable plan with the major change? If you put it at the beginning of the sentence, it becomes an introductory prepositional phrase, and you would put a comma.
So now we’re down to “With the major change, how do airports create a viable plan?”

Technically, if they’re throwing in “The question is”, then I guess it would be a period strictly technically.
But I choose to think the whole thing is a question. So I would do it this way.

With the major change, the question is how do airports create a viable plan?

Intro prep phase+punctuation+noun+linking verb+predicative nominative clause.

That’s how I do it? Industry standard? I don’t know.

I think it is a poorly worded because the prep phrase is so far from the item it is modifying. A slightly better question would be

The question is, with the major change, how do airports create a viable plan? I put commas around it because it is an introductory prep phrase that should/could probably be at the end of the sentence to be entirely proper.

The best question and what the attorney really means.

How do airports create a viable plan with the major change? Just restate the damn question and make my life easier.

Probably way more than you wanted to know. I know other people do it differently. I could be off my rocker. Hope it helps.

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Comment by Jennie 7 hours ago Delete Comment I have a burning question that I have always wondered about, how others do it, and what is considered the industry norm, so to speak. I was not sure where to post this question, and so I put it here, hoping to get a few responses.

Option A. With the major change, my question is how do airports create a viable plan.

Option B. With the major change, my question is: How do airports create a viable plan?

Option C. With the major change, my question is, how do airports create a viable plan?

Option A seems like a statment, i.e., my question is this. It is a statement and not a question, or is it?

Option B. Placing the old trusty colon there takes care of everything and is my favorite choice, but is it right?

Option C. Placing a comma after "my question is" allows me to turn what I consider a statement into a question.

This comes up ALL THE TIME. Are all three options acceptable? Is there another option available? Looking forward to learning from others how you handle this. TIA! :>)
Here's a recent issue of one of my favorite e-newsletters about grammar and punctuation, and it's on colons. Good stuff. It's from Jane Strauss at GrammarBook.com.

English Tip of the Week - Colons with Lists
Today, I will help you understand how the colon is used in sentences and lists.

Rule 1: Use the colon after a complete sentence to introduce a list of items when introductory words such as namely, for example, or that is do not appear.

Examples:
You may be required to bring many items: sleeping bags, pans, and warm clothing.
I want the following items: butter, sugar, and flour.
I want an assistant who can do the following: (1) input data, (2) write reports, and (3) complete tax forms.

Rule 2: A colon should not precede a list unless it follows a complete sentence.

Examples:
To be successful in sales, one should do the following: (a) dress appropriately, (b) ask customers about their needs, and (c) follow through.
To be successful in sales, one should (a) dress appropriately, (b) ask customers about their needs, and (c) follow through.


To subscribe to the GrammarBook e-newsletter, click here.
That is very, very helpful. I like that description.

I subscribed to the GrammarBook e-newsletter What a great reference that is.

Thanks, Marla!

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