Using Colons: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donald Nicolas
Ever wonder what these two little dots (:) mean? In this lesson, you'll learn more about these two little dots, called colons, why they're important, and when and how they are used in writing. Updated: 05/01/2020

The Mighty Colon

A colon is a punctuation mark, just like apostrophes, exclamation points, periods, and question marks. It's composed of two dots stacked one on top of the other. In grammar, a colon can be used before a list, after a greeting in a formal business letter, or to emphasize a point. Let's find out how.

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  • 0:04 The Mighty Colon
  • 0:28 Lists of Items
  • 0:47 Business Letters
  • 1:00 Dramatic Pauses
  • 1:35 Times of Day
  • 1:51 Lesson Summary
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Lists of Items

Colons can be used before a series of items in a list. Let's look at an example:

''Mom needed to buy the following items at the grocery store: eggs, milk, butter, flour, and sugar.''

Here the colon is used to introduce the grocery list. In writing, it almost acts like a pause button.

Business Letters

A colon is also used in the greeting of a business letter. For example:

''Dear Mr. Jones:''

A colon is a formal way to start a business letter. The next time you read a letter like this, see if you can spot the colon.

Dramatic Pauses

Colons can also be used to emphasize or to make a point in a text. Authors like to use colons in their writing to make it more interesting for readers like you!

For example:

''On Christmas Day I got what I wished for the most: a brand-new bicycle!''

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