Rules for Colons

Writers often use colons where they shouldn't. That is, writers tend to use colons to signal to the reader that a list is forthcoming. The basic rule in running text (text that isn't a heading or a title or a time, such as 2:00) is that a colon should follow only a complete sentence. A colon should not be used after a sentence fragment (such fragments usually end in a verb or preposition).

Incorrect Use of the Colon

Try to identify what is incorrect about each of these examples:

The members of the 2008 Olympic team are: Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel, Samantha Peszek, Alicia Sacramone, and Bridget Sloan.

Additional general risk categories include: bloodborne pathogens, sudden cardiac arrest, child protection issues, fire, heat-related illness, lightning and severe weather, security, sport-related trauma, and vehicular accidents and injuries.

In this situation, the university faced numerous sanctions, including: being placed on probation for four years, being barred from participating in postseason competition for one year, and being forced to reduce the scholarships available to the program by three for two years.

Provide an explanation of the key factors that would influence decision making relevant to:
<se1blnl>* Recognition
* Analysis
* Action

This chapter covers principles of contract law and provides examples of the many types of contracts that sport managers encounter, including:

<bl>*college and professional coaching contracts
*player contracts
*endorsement agreement
*agent representation agreements
*collective bargaining agreements
*scholarships and letters of intent

Correct Use of the Colon

Revising mistakes in colon usage is easy. In many cases, such as in a run-in list, you can just delete the colon after the verb or preposition. If it's an introductory statement followed by a bulleted list, make the introductory statement a complete sentence ending in a colon and capitalize the first letter of each item of the bulleted list, or you can delete the colon from the introductory fragment and punctuate the bulleted list as if it were run in with the introductory statement.

These examples don't even need colons:

The members of the 2008 Olympic team are Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel, Samantha Peszek, Alicia Sacramone, and Bridget Sloan.

Additional general risk categories include bloodborne pathogens, sudden cardiac arrest, child protection issues, fire, heat-related illness, lightning and severe weather, security, sport-related trauma, and vehicular accidents and injuries.

These are correct because the colon follows a complete sentence:

The analysis consists of two parts that often overlap and work together: risk identification and risk evaluation.

Four options (potential actions to take) are provided by this model:

<bl>*Retention
*Treatment
*Transfer
*Avoidance

In this situation, the university faced numerous sanctions: being placed on probation for four years, being barred from participating in postseason competition for one year, and being forced to reduce the scholarships available to the program by three for two years.

This chapter covers principles of contract law and provides examples of the many types of contracts that sport managers encounter:

<bl>*College and professional coaching contracts
*Player contracts
*Endorsement agreement
*Agent representation agreements
*Collective bargaining agreements
*Scholarships and letters of intent

The following example is correct because the introductory statement is a fragment and therefore needs no colon. The list items are punctuated as if they were run in with the introductory statement:

This chapter covers principles of contract law and provides examples of the many types of contracts that sport managers encounter, including

<bl>*college and professional coaching contracts,
*player contracts,
*endorsement agreement,
*agent representation agreements,
*collective bargaining agreements, and
*scholarships and letters of intent.