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Colons in Literature (Grade 10)

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Colons in Literature

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” - Man and Superman

Explain why the author uses a colon instead of a semicolon.

"I have no idea what's awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.” - The Plague

What does the colon in this sentence do?
  1. To precede a list
  2. To place emphasis on a key point
  3. To introduce a long quotation
  4. To connect two independent sentences
“Stop worrying about growing old. And think about growing up.” - The Dying Animal

Rewrite the sentence above using a colon. How does it change the sentence?

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” - Matilda

How does the author use a colon in the passage above?
  1. To put emphasis on a key idea
  2. To connect two related independent clauses
  3. To introduce a list
  4. To set off an introductory element
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." - C.S. Lewis

In the quote above, how does the author use a colon?
  1. To put emphasis on a key idea
  2. To begin a list
  3. To set off an introductory element
  4. To combine closely related independent clauses
"And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn't matter to me." - Dangerous Liasons

How does the author use a colon in the passage above?

The passage below was originally written with a colon. Rewrite the passage, placing the colon in the correct spot.

“Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own in pain and sickness it would still be dear.” - Jane Eyre

“Lord Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Lord Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet: Between who?
Lord Polonius: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.” - Hamlet

In the passage above, colons are used to
  1. introduce lists of items.
  2. connect closely related clauses.
  3. note who is speaking.
  4. add clarification to a clause.
“People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics. The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.” - G.K. Chesterton

Rewrite the passage above, replacing one of the semicolons with a correctly used colon.

Fill in the blanks in the passage below with the correct punctuation. Hint: A colon is used once.

“A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures           it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being           it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.” ― Jorge Luis Borges
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