The Colon

The Colon : ( : )

The Colon may be used at the writer's discretion, if he thinks that the pause is not sufficiently marked by a Semicolon. On this point no fixed rules can be given. The main uses of the Colon are the following.

(a) To introduce an additional remark in explanation or in confirmation of a previous one

Strive above all things in whatever station of life you may be to preserve health: there is no happiness in life without it.

(b) To introduce a quotation - In this case it is often followed by a dash

Shakespeare says : 'Sweet are the uses of adversity.'

(c) To introduce a series of clauses

You must now hear what I have to say about the uses of iron: we sleep on iron; we travel on iron; we float on iron; we plough the fields with iron; we shoot with iron; we chop down trees with iron; in fact, there is scarcely anything that we can do without the help of this wonderful metal.

Insert commas, colons or semicolons where necessary in the following sentences.

1. In Rome the army was the nation no citizen could take office unless he had served in ten campaigns.

2. Whenever you hesitate about beginning to do something which must be eventually done remember the maxim a thing begun is half done.

3. According to Hindu notions if a sick man sneezes it is a sure sign of recovery but when a man is going on a journey or about to commence some business should anyone about him sneeze the sneeze indicates that the object in which he is interested will not be accomplished.

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