GMAT Verbal : Correcting Colon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #41 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Misha bought a new computer from the store a Macbook Pro.

Possible Answers:

a new computer from the store: a Macbook Pro.

a new computer from the store; a Macbook Pro.

a new computer from the store - a Macbook Pro.

a new computer from the store, a Macbook, Pro.

a new computer from the store a Macbook Pro.

Correct answer:

a new computer from the store: a Macbook Pro.

Explanation:

This sentence does not contain a colon where necessary. The phrase "a Macbook Pro" is a dependent clause that needs to be separated from the main clause at the very least. This phrase, however, is a dependent clause so a semicolon cannot be used (semicolons only join independent clauses). A hyphen is inappropriate because a colon is a better choice: the words "a Macbook Pro" explains specifically what type of computer Misha bought. When joining clauses without a conjunction and the second clause explains something in the first clause, a colon is the best option. The correct answer is, "a new computer from the store: a Macbook Pro."

Example Question #42 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

He wrote down the recipe so that: he would not forget.

Possible Answers:

the recipe, so that: he would not forget

the recipe so that - he would not forget

the recipe so that he would not forget

the recipe so that: he would not forget

the recipe, so that he would not forget

Correct answer:

the recipe so that he would not forget

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a colon. Colons are used to combine two clauses when the second clause explains something about the first clause. The colon in this sentence only awkwardly splits the existing clause. The correct choice is, "the recipe so that he would not forget."

Example Question #43 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Jacob created an action plan for the employees to follow: in times of chaos.

Possible Answers:

plan for the employees to follow in: times of chaos.

plan for the employees to follow in times of chaos.

plan for the employees to follow - in times of chaos.

plan for: the employees to follow in times of chaos.

plan for the employees to follow: in times of chaos.

Correct answer:

plan for the employees to follow in times of chaos.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a colon. Colons are used to combine two clauses when the second clause explains the whole- or something about the first clause. This sentence is a simple sentence, so there is only one clause present. Colons are never just placed before a preposition, unless that preposition begins a new clause (which is not happening here), and they never come after a preposition, as that would split the prepositional phrase. The correct choice is, "plan for the employees to follow in times of chaos."

Example Question #44 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Karen angrily shouted: "Hey, get out of there!"

Possible Answers:

Karen angrily shouted, "Hey, get out of there"!

Karen angrily shouted, "Hey, get out of there!"

Karen angrily shouted: "Hey, get out of there"!

Karen angrily shouted: "Hey, get out of there!"

Karen angrily shouted Hey, get out of there!

Correct answer:

Karen angrily shouted, "Hey, get out of there!"

Explanation:

Colons are often used to introduce quotations; however colons used in this fashion cannot follow a verb (like "shouted"). In this sentence the colon should be replaced with a comma. Direct quotations (including punctuation) must be enclosed in quotation marks.

Example Question #45 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The company bought Damian's shares for: 600 million dollars.

Possible Answers:

Damian's shares for: 600 million dollars.

Damian's shares: for 600 million dollars.

Damian's shares for, 600 million dollars.

Damian's shares: for 600 million, dollars.

Damian's shares for 600 million dollars.

Correct answer:

Damian's shares for 600 million dollars.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a colon. Colons are used to join two separate clauses, when the second clause explains the whole- or something about the first clause. Colons should never split up a clause and, therefore, can never come after a preposition (this would split the prepositional phrase). This is a simple sentence, so no extra punctuation is necessary. The correct choice is, "Damian's shares for 600 million dollars."

Example Question #46 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Jessica's goal was to become the CEO of: a Fortune 500 company.

Possible Answers:

become the CEO of, a Fortune 500 company.

become the CEO of: a Fortune 500 company.

become: the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

become the CEO of a: Fortune 500 company.

become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Correct answer:

become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a colon. Colons are used to join two separate clauses, when the second clause explains the whole- or something about the first clause. Colons should never split up a clause and, therefore, can never come after a preposition (this would split the prepositional phrase). This is a simple sentence, so no additional punctuation is necessary. The correct choice is, "become the CEO of a Fortune 500 company."

Example Question #41 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The teacher's rates were high: because his students were considered to be the best in their field after graduation. 

Possible Answers:

The teacher's rates were high - because his students

The teacher's rates were high because his students

The teacher's rates were high: because his students

The teacher's rates were high; because his students

The teacher's rates were high, because his students

Correct answer:

The teacher's rates were high because his students

Explanation:

This sentence contains a colon where one is not necessary. Colons are used to join two clauses when the second clause explains something about the first clause. Colons are not used with conjunctions like "because," though. Furthermore, the word "because" does not need a comma before it (only coordinating conjunctions need a comma before it when joining an independent clause to another. The correct choice is, "The teacher's rates were high because his students."

Example Question #48 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

He practiced everyday in order to achieve: his goal of becoming a pro skater.

Possible Answers:

 in order: to achieve his goal of becoming a pro skater.

 in order to achieve: his goal of becoming a pro skater.

 in order to achieve his goal: of becoming a pro skater.

 in order to achieve his goal of becoming a pro skater.

 in order to achieve his goal of: becoming a pro skater.

Correct answer:

 in order to achieve his goal of becoming a pro skater.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in the usage of the colon. Colons are used to join two clauses when the second clause explains something in the first clause. The colons in the choices above, however, only split up the existing clauses (Colons never are used in the middle of clauses and absolutely never after a preposition like "of"). The best choice is to omit the colon. The correct answer is, " in order to achieve his goal of becoming a pro skater."

Example Question #49 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

He always appreciated: a pen that wrote well, a rarity in his opinion.

Possible Answers:

He always appreciated: a pen that wrote well

He always appreciated a pen that wrote well

He always appreciated a pen: that wrote well

He always appreciated, a pen that wrote well

He always appreciated a pen, that wrote well

Correct answer:

He always appreciated a pen that wrote well

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the colon. Colons are used to join two clauses (the first one has to be independent) when the second clause explains/describes something about the first clause. In the above choices, the colon does not appear in any place between clauses. The correct choice is, "He always appreciated a pen that wrote well."

Example Question #50 : Correcting Colon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

He planned to read a few books during his vacation. The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

Possible Answers:

books during his vacation: The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

books during his vacation; The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

books during his vacation The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

books during his vacation - The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

books during his vacation. The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

Correct answer:

books during his vacation: The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

Explanation:

This sentence does not contain a colon where necessary. The phrase "The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird" describe exactly what books the subject plans to read. Colons should be used when combining two related clauses when the second clause explains something about the first one; therefore, a colon should appear after the word "vacation." The correct choice is, "books during his vacation: The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm, and To Kill A Mockingbird."

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