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Brad's Advanced Composition  April 20 Assignment

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Advanced Composition: Mastering the Colon
April 20, 2000

As many of you know, a colon means "as follows." The colon, when used sparingly, can be a good way to emphasize a point in your paragraph. Let's practice this important punctuation mark today. 

Uses of the Colon

bulletUse a colon to introduce and emphasize a series of items at the end of your sentence. I like three kinds of hamburgers: Wendy's Big Bacon Classic, Harvey's Bacon with Cheese, and my own backyard barbecued burgers. 
bulletUse a colon to emphasize a single point. He has one major problem: his grammar. 
bulletSpecial notes: Use dashes for a list in the middle of a sentence. The three cars he drives—the Jaguar, the BMW, and the Mercedes Benz—are worth in excess of 200,000 dollars. Do not substitute a colon for a semicolon. I was impressed by his actions; however, I find him short-tempered most of the time.


Almost everyone has a few problems that need a solution. Write a short paragraph about three problems you expect to solve within the next 60 days (in other words, small problems not big ones!) Use two sentences with colons: one with a list of the three problems, the other that emphasizes a single point. If you can, use a semicolon in a sentence, too. See teacher writing sample on this topic.

Achilles had one big problem: his heel!

Go to Assignment Archive for older assignments.


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