Would this sentence be a correct use of a colon?

The three things I like to do on vacation are: swim in the ocean, shop at the mall, and play at the amusement park.

My English book says never a colon after a verb, but I was at a reading conference just last week and the presenter teaches a colon in the above example. Is this right or not?
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What's wrong with the colon anywayEmotion: smile
There is a mistake.

Keep in mind that the sentence has to make sense with the colon removed and one element of the list.

Corrections are below in CAPS:

"The ONE thing I like to do on vacation IS swimING in the ocean."

So, if we ignore the not-after-a-verb rule, your sentence should be: "...vacation are: swimming..., shopping..., and playing..."

Since the above sentence makes perfect sense WITHOUT the colon, why use it?

I've actually never heard of the rule that states you can't put a colon after a verb. However, if you treat the colon like an equals sign "=", then you don't need to remember such rules.

"I went: to the doctor's office, to the supermarket, and home." (Sounds funny and violates the verb rule).

"I went to three places: the doctor's office, the supermarket, and home." (Sound better. Three places = the doctor's office, the supermarket, and home).

Finally, how I would write your sentence:

"The three things I like to do on vacation are swimming in the ocean, shopping at the mall, and playing at the amusement park. "
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Forgive me jumping in.

The colon has only one important function: it indicates that what follows it is an explanation or elaboration or what precedes it.

What the precedes the colon must be a complete sentence. What follows it may be a sentence, a phrase, a list, or even a single word.

Here are some examples.

Only four contenders remain: Sampras, Agassi, Rafter and Henman.

We propose the creation of a new post: School Executive Officer.

Africa is facing a terrifying problem: AIDS.

The situation is clear: if you have unprotected sex with a stranger, you risk AIDS.

A colon should not interrupt a sentence that flows smoothly without it. Therefore, it is wrong to write, "The three things I like to do on vacation are: swim in the ocean, shop at the mall, and play at the amusement park." The colon is unnecessary.

A colon should never be used after the preposition 'like'.

No colon should follow the word 'including.'
I have a BS in Communication Ed. and a MS in Literacy...for what it is worth, I was told never to use a colon after a verb.
I have an MA in English. Do not use a colon after a verb. It should never separate the verb from the object.
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This is an incorrect use of the colon according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition.
"A colon is not normally used after namely, for example and similar expressions. Nor is it used before a series introduced by a verb or a preposition." section 6.68
That's right; I've just looked at Chicago 6.68 too. A colon should NOT follow a verb.

By the way, Ryan Smith is wrong when he corrects the example to read "swimming, shopping, etc." The original sentence is right, because "swim," "shop," and "play" are verbs in the infinitive. (What do you like to do? Swim. Shop. Play.)


"The things I like to do on vacation are swim, shop, and play at the amusement park."

If you want to use the gerund (-ing), a change in wording would be necessary.

Some activities I enjoy are swimming, shopping, and playing...


X The things I like to do are swimming, shopping, and playing...
I found an exception to the rule where you can use a colon after a verb or after an incomplete sentence.

Special Case: In a formal tabulation (list), such as in an official Job Description or a Resume, you may use a colon after a form of the verb " to be." Example:

The qualities of a good Boy Scout leader are:

Moral integrity



Therefore; according to , the presenter was correct if we all were to assume the instructor's sentence was a "formal tabulation." If formal list means an accurate description or an objective statement, which seems to be what the instructor was writing, then under this "special case," the instructor would be correct in grammar usage.

I guess if you (or anyone reading this, since I'm replying to a post that is nearly seven years old) really wanted to know, you could e-mail Email Removed and ask them. If you do then please post the e-mail reply on this forum to let us know.
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