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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:   Writing: Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation

Curriculum subtopic:   Use Colons in Lists

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

Isobel writes the sentence below:

 

My brothers are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.

 

Finlay changes it to:

 

My brothers: are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.

 

Who is correct?

Isobel

Finlay

Which part of the sentence would you place the colon after?

 

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

I have only one thing

to say to you

"Go away!"

Would you use a colon before the list of sandwiches?

 

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

Yes

No

Which of the different options of the sentence below shows the correct punctuation?

 

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

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

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

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

What type of punctuation do we need to insert to make this sentence make sense?
 

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

Comma

Colon

  • 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
How did you do with this first question? 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
Did you remember the rule... We need to think about whether the part before makes sense on its own? 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
Even though a quotation was used here, there is still a rule to follow! Although colons can be used to introduce quotations, the first clause has to make sense on its own. 'My mum always says' does not make sense on its own.
  • 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
What did you think? Did you get it right? 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 to be considered a full sentence.
  • 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
Are 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

Isobel writes the sentence below:

 

My brothers are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.

 

Finlay changes it to:

 

My brothers: are called Joey, Jamie and Jake.

 

Who is correct?

CORRECT ANSWER
Isobel
EDDIE SAYS
Who did you think was correct here? 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 its own.
  • Question 7

Which part of the sentence would you place the colon after?

 

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

CORRECT ANSWER
to say to you
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? A colon should be used after the word 'you'. The first part of the sentence makes sense on its own. We can then use the colon to introduce the quotation.
  • Question 8

Would you use a colon before the list of sandwiches?

 

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

CORRECT ANSWER
Yes
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get it? Remember as long as the first part of the sentence makes sense on its own you can use a colon to introduce a list. Our new sentence should read: We made four types of sandwich: ham, cheese, jam and marmite.
  • Question 9

Which of the different options of the sentence below shows the correct punctuation?

 

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
Remember that rule, we are looking to see if the first part makes sense on its own. If it doesn't then we definitely do not need a colon! You know the drill! In this sentence "My grandad always says" does not make sense by itself. Last question coming up!
  • Question 10

What type of punctuation do we need to insert to make this sentence make sense?
 

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

CORRECT ANSWER
Comma
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this last one? A colon is not needed here as the first part of the sentence does not make sense on its own, however we DO need a comma before we introduce this piece of speech. Well done, that's another activity completed, great work!
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