Colons with Independent Clauses

The Rule:

You can opt to place a colon between independent clauses if the second clause explains or amplifies the first. (This is a stylistic choice, not a requirement.)

 

Hint:

A colon in this case acts as the word “namely.” So if you could put the word “namely” between the two clauses, then you can stylistically use a colon.

 


Examples:

Shu-Ching was sure of one thing: she was not going to be a housewife all her life.

  • Since the second clause explains the first clause (what she was sure of), you can use a colon between them.

Steve has one golden rule for dealing with money: “Never a borrower nor a lender be.”

  • Since the second clause explains the first clause (what his rule is), you can use a colon between them.

I like ice cream; I don’t like chocolate, though. OR I like ice cream. I don’t like chocolate, though. OR I like ice cream, but I don’t like chocolate.

  • The second clause is not explaining or amplifying the first, so you cannot put a colon between these two independent clauses.

 


Practice:

None of these independent clauses have to have colons between them, since using one is a stylistic choice. However, for purposes of practicing, put a colon between any clauses where it would work to do so.

  1. Our mother had finally made her decision she was going to get rid of her dog.
  2. Grapes are not squeezed the pulp is pressed.
  3. My little sister likes to whine she can still make me laugh though.
  4. Paul Revere’s The Boston Massacre is traditional American protest art Edward Hick’s paintings are socially conscious art with a religious strain.
  5. There was a clear reason for a drop in attendance at NBA games this season there was no superstar to take the place of Michael Jordan.

 



Answers:

  1. Our mother had finally made her decision: she was going to get rid of her dog.
  2. Grapes are not squeezed: the pulp is pressed.
  3. My little sister likes to whine (no colon) she can still make me laugh though.
  4. Paul Revere’s The Boston Massacre is traditional American protest art (no colon) Edward Hick’s paintings are socially conscious art with a religious strain.
  5. There was a clear reason for a drop in attendance at NBA games this season: there was no superstar to take the place of Michael Jordan.

 

 

 

 

Subscribe

If you would like to subscribe to my blog, click the button below.

I want to write better today »

Categories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *