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Bookhooks Style Guide

Using our Word template, you can annotate student work, adding comments for the 30 Common Errors listed in this style guide. The template facilitates mark up by teachers, and generates comments with links to these resource pages!

   Misused Colon

30 Common Writing Errors and Their Solutions

Sentence Fragment
Run On/Comma Splice

Parenthetic Expression
Comma Before Independent Clause
Punctuation at end of Quotation
Single Quote Marks
Dangling Modifier
Misplaced Modifier
Vague Pronoun Reference
Number Agreement
Parallel Structure
Verb Tenses
Fused Words
Passive Voice

Negative Form
Choppy Sentences
Qualifiers and Intensifiers
Vague, Stilted or Flowery Language

This listing of 30 common writing errors was compiled by The Pingry School and is used with permission.

Place a colon before a final appositive or a list, but only after an independent clause.

If the list does not end the sentence, use a pair of dashes or parentheses rather than a colon.

Also use a colon to introduce a clause or quote that amplifies the preceding clause.

One planet calls us, Mars.

We need several ingredients, flour, sugar, eggs, and milk.

We need: flour, sugar, eggs, and milk.

We need several ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and milk, to make this cake.

One planet calls us: Mars.

We need several ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and milk.

We need flour, sugar, eggs, and milk.

We need several ingredients — flour, sugar, eggs, and milk — to make this cake.

There was something unsettling about the room: perhaps it was the mauve and puce color scheme.

Dr. King’s words were inspiring: “I have a dream.”