Unpunctuated Challenge 10: Colons in Lists

Introducing Ideas

Back in the 17th century John Bullokar referred to a colon as ‘two prickes’. The famous playwright Ben Jonson thought of them similarly:

‘A pause is a distinction of a sentence, though perfect in itself, yet joined to another, being marked thus with two pricks (:).'

Jonson liked a colon so much he included one in his signature. Writers today are more likely to use a semicolon for the purpose he describes. Modern colons are used to introduce lists and ideas. We also use colons to divide numbers and for dividing things like titles and names.

You can find additional resources for using commas (and colons) here.

You can find more quirky facts about punctuation in the Monster Punctuation book!