Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?

People often ask me what I actually teach in my middle school English class besides how to recognize sarcasm, so I thought I’d start an occasional grammar challenge/lesson for all you fantastic readers out there based on what I am currently teaching my students.

The Punctuation Mark, Not The Body Part

Here’s this week’s question for you:  in which ways may a colon be used?*

Post a comment with your answers, and next week I will reveal the answers.  The winner(s) with the most correct answers will receive mad props and a proverbial fist bump.  Game on!

*Hint: there are five main ways to use a colon.

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3 thoughts on “Are You Smarter Than a Sixth Grader?

  1. Umm…at the beginning of a list? After the greeting in a business letter?? To whom it may concern: ? That’s it…haha James says possibly before stating a quote in a paper? that is longer than three sentences before the space and indentation?? Writing out time in numerical form?? Haha Does that count? Love on your blog from the Greskos. I know some about English, but apparently, I am lacking in colon knowledge. =) Keep up the good work.

  2. There are a few more ways you can use a colon: between an independent clause and an example/explanation, between the chapter and verse, and occasionally in titles.

  3. Colons are used primarily to introduce something that the writer wishes to give special attention. That particular item can be a word, a phrase, a list, or a sentence that is of particular importance to their current topic in writing. For example, if I were to write about my stepson, the sentence might look something like this… “There are many things that I could complain about with regards to Tristan, but they all boil down to one thing: his mother. Her parenting style….” etc. By stating my issues in that fashion and using the colon, my feelings toward my husband’s ex are abundantly clear to my audience without necessitating my usage of expletives. In short, although the colon is used in various ways, it is always used to add special emphasis to the word, phrase or sentence that immediately follows it.

    Reference:

    “The Colon” (n.d.) Punctuation Made Simple. Retrieved April 8th, 2011 from http://lilt.ilstu.edu/golson/punctuation/colon.html

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