如何在英文写作里正确使用冒号(:)

冒号(:)可以被用来解释和深入阐述前面的句子,或是总结上文。一般情况下,冒号会跟在独立子句的后面,引导单词和词组,可以把读者的注意力集中到列举的文本上。

然而,作者应该谨记的是,冒号是一个吸引人视线的很powerful的标点符号,因此在写作中不应该使用得太过频繁。本文将为您说明冒号是什么,列举冒号使用示例,以及有哪些常见使用错误需避免。

引导一个单词或词组

冒号经常用来引导一个单词或词组,或加在一个独立子句的后面。

Example
John only does one thing during his free time: rock climbing.
Example
I have a great idea: let's go shopping tomorrow.

使用冒号引导一个项目时,冒号前的文本必须是一个独立子句或完整的句子。

Incorrect
One essential step for writing an essay is: proofreading.
Correct
One essential step for writing an essay is obvious: proofreading.

放在一个项目清单前面

用冒号引导一个项目清单或一个项目系列。

Example
I am taking the following classes: thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and linear algebra.

避免在不需要标点符号的项目清单前面,或使用其他标点符号更适合的地方使用冒号。

Incorrect
I love video games such as: Super Mario, Halo, and Doom.
Correct
I love video games, including Super Mario, Halo, and Doom.

正确地应用冒号建立项目清单

Incorrect
The three major species in Starcraft are: Terran, Zerg, and Protoss.
Correct
Starcraft has three major species: Terran, Zerg, and Protoss.
Correct
The three major species in Starcraft are Terran, Zerg, and Protoss.
Incorrect
I have many friends from: Columbia, Italy, and India.
Correct
I have many friends from three countries: Columbia, Italy, and India.
Correct
I have many friends from Columbia, Italy, and India.
Incorrect
My morning routine includes: making the bed, washing my face, and brushing my teeth.
Correct
My morning routine includes minor activities: making the bed, washing my face, and brushing my teeth.
Correct
My morning routine includes making the bed, washing my face, and brushing my teeth.

使用冒号时常见的错误

虽然冒号可以用在许多情况,但应用于学术写作时,作者应该避免几个常见的错误。

分隔内容不相关的子句

如果第二个子句是在强调第一个子句,或把重要的细节加入第一个子句时,就可以把冒号用在两个独立子句之间。

Incorrect
I decided to take a day off: we have a new president.
Correct
We canceled our family trip: everyone got food poisoning.

冒号的滥用

放在适当位置的冒号会引起读者的注意,并告诉读者:“这个信息包含重要的内容:范例或厘清内容的细节。”

由于冒号非常引人注目,因此经常用来清楚地指出重要的信息。基于这个理由,许多学术论文的作者会用冒号来引导主要的论点或支持性的证据。

更多与冒号有关的提示

冒号后面要用正确的大写

除非是专有名词、一段引述或系列中的第一个句子,冒号后面的第一个单词不要大写。

Incorrect
The following ingredients are needed to make a cake: Eggs, milk, and sugar.
Correct
I want to visit the three most beautiful cities in Europe: Venice, Prague, and Rome.

用冒号,不用逗号

在一个包含多个句子的引述前要用冒号,不要用逗号。

Example
Steve Jobs once said: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking."