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Use Colons Correctly: Lists and Quotations

In this worksheet, students practise using colons to introduce lists and quotations.

'Use Colons Correctly: Lists and Quotations' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   English

Curriculum subtopic:   Punctuation: Colons, Semicolons & Apostrophes

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

The colon can be used to punctuate sentences in different ways.

 

It can be used to introduce a list.

Please bring these items with you: a packed lunch, a drink, a sunhat and a raincoat.

 

Colons should only be used to introduce lists if the section of the sentence before the list would make sense on its own. In the next example, 'Please bring' does not make sense on its own, so a colon is not needed.

Please bring a packed lunch, a drink, a sunhat and a raincoat with you.

 

A colon can also be used to introduce a quotation.

My chemistry teacher had a favourite saying: 'Do as I say, not as I do.'

 

Again, the colon should only be used if the part of the sentence before the quotation makes sense on its own. In the following sentence, 'My chemistry teacher used to say' doesn't make sense on its own, so a colon is not needed.

My chemistry teacher used to say, 'Do as I say, not as I do.'

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

I am saving up for three things: a guitar, a bicycle and a camera.

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

Please will you pop down to the shops and buy: some bread, a pint of milk and a bag of sugar.

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

My mum always says: 'As long as you try your best you will be fine.'

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

I really hate: peas, liver and shellfish.

correct

incorrect

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

My granny had a favourite proverb: 'It's no use crying over spilt milk.'

correct

incorrect

Decide whether a colon is needed before the list or not. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

My brothers are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.

Decide whether this sentence needs a colon or just a comma before the quotation. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

I have only one thing to say to you "Go away!"

Decide whether a colon is needed before the list or not. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

We made four types of sandwich ham, cheese, jam and marmite.

Decide whether this sentence needs a colon or just a comma before the quotation. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

My grandad always says "These bones are not as young as they used to be."

Decide whether this sentence needs a colon or just a comma before the quotation. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

I said to Josh "Let's go fishing after school."

  • Question 1

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

I am saving up for three things: a guitar, a bicycle and a camera.

CORRECT ANSWER
correct
EDDIE SAYS
Great effort! The first part of the sentence makes sense on its own so the colon is correct here. The colon is being used to introduce the list.
  • Question 2

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

Please will you pop down to the shops and buy: some bread, a pint of milk and a bag of sugar.

CORRECT ANSWER
incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
Good job! This time the first part of the sentence doesn\'t make sense on its own, so a colon is not needed.
  • Question 3

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

My mum always says: 'As long as you try your best you will be fine.'

CORRECT ANSWER
incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
Although colons can be used to introduce quotations, the first clause has to make sense on it\'s own. \'My mum always says\' does not make sense on it\'s own. Keep up the great work.
  • Question 4

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

I really hate: peas, liver and shellfish.

CORRECT ANSWER
incorrect
EDDIE SAYS
Again here the colon is used incorrectly. The first part of the sentence has to make sense on its own. \'I really hate\' doesn\'t make sense as it does not give us enough information.
  • Question 5

Read the following sentence and decide whether a colon has been used correctly or not.

 

My granny had a favourite proverb: 'It's no use crying over spilt milk.'

CORRECT ANSWER
correct
EDDIE SAYS
You getting the hang of this? This example does use a colon correctly. The first part of the sentence makes sense by itself. The colon can then be used to introduce the quotation.
  • Question 6

Decide whether a colon is needed before the list or not. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

My brothers are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.

CORRECT ANSWER
My brothers are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.
EDDIE SAYS
A colon is not needed in this sentence as \'My brothers\' can not be a stand alone sentence. If the sentence said \'I have three brothers: Joey, Jamie and Jake.\' A colon would be correct as the first part makes sense on it\'s own.
  • Question 7

Decide whether this sentence needs a colon or just a comma before the quotation. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

I have only one thing to say to you "Go away!"

CORRECT ANSWER
I have only one thing to say to you: "Go away!"
EDDIE SAYS
A colon is correct in this example. The first part of the sentence makes sense on it\'s own. We can then use the colon to introduce the quotation.
  • Question 8

Decide whether a colon is needed before the list or not. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

We made four types of sandwich ham, cheese, jam and marmite.

CORRECT ANSWER
We made four types of sandwich: ham, cheese, jam and marmite.
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get it? Remember as long as the first part of the sentence makes sense on it\'s own you can use a colon to introduce a list. Keep it up!
  • Question 9

Decide whether this sentence needs a colon or just a comma before the quotation. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

My grandad always says "These bones are not as young as they used to be."

CORRECT ANSWER
My grandad always says, "These bones are not as young as they used to be."
EDDIE SAYS
Super star! A colon is not needed her as \"My grandad always says\" does not make sense by itself.
  • Question 10

Decide whether this sentence needs a colon or just a comma before the quotation. Write the correct version in the answer box.

 

I said to Josh "Let's go fishing after school."

CORRECT ANSWER
I said to Josh, "Let's go fishing after school."
EDDIE SAYS
Fantastic effort! A colon is not needed here as the first part of the sentence does not make sense on it\'s own.
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