I'm going to talk to you about colons and how to properly use them, and also just how they function in a sentence. I like to think of colons as sort of the ta-da of the punctuation world. They tend to have that effect when you see it's like you have a setup and then a colon, which is like "Ta-da! I'm going to pull a rabbit out of my hat." And what follows the colon is the rabbit. So let me give you an example of how we might use it in a sentence. I have here, "In conclusion: We need a better plan." So this is kind of like a ta-da moment that might come at the end of a speech that you're giving to your co-workers, or the end of a meeting. In conclusion: We need a better plan.
It definitely gives some punch, some emphasis to that final thought that we need a better plan. One thing that's really important to note is that when what follows a colon is a complete thought, we need to capitalize the first letter of the following word. So, "In conclusion: We need a better plan." Here's another way to use the colon. It comes in really handy when we have a list. So if we're presenting a list to somebody, we can use the colon. In this sentence we say, "The old plan has three merits: clarity, excitement, and selling power." You can see what follows the colon here is a list of qualities. So any time you have a list, you can consider the colon as a good way to set it up. I want you to note that in this case, we don't capitalize the first word following the colon. And the reason for that is because what follows is not a complete thought. So if what follows the colon is a complete thought, capitalize the next word. If what follows is not a complete thought, lower-case it. And that's how you use a colon.