Colons and dashes

Colons and dashes

Author: Kathy Hanley

    Explain colons and when they are commonly used. 


    Explain dashes and when they are commonly used. 


This packet should help a learner seeking to understand how to use correct punctuation and who is confused about how to use colons and dashes. It will explain instances when it is appropriate to use colons and dashes according to style and audience. 

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The Colon

The Colon is a punctuation mark that is used in very specific instances.  You should use a colon after an independent clause to indicate to the reader that a list, an apositive or a quotation will follow.  Colons are also used in the salutation of a formal letter, between hours and minutes when indicating time, to show proportions, between titles and subtitles, and between city and publisher in a bibliography.

Source: Kathleen Hanley

Colon Exercises

The answers to the worksheet appear in the second PDF.

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The Dash

The dash is a punctuation mark used in specific instances.  The dash may be used to indicate information that need special attention.  A dash may also introduce a list, a restatement, further explanation, or a startling change in tone.  A dash can also be used to set off a change in topic in the midst of a sentence.

Source: Kathleen Hanley

The Dash

Source: Kathleen Hanley