Can you use a colon before a list of questions? For example, "A few questions that may come up are: how can. . ." Is that correct? Should the first question be capitalized (after the colon)?

1 Answer

"Yes" to a list of questions following a colon. "It depends" on how things should be capitalized.


There are a couple of questions in this question, so let's address the colon question first:

Can you use a colon before a list of questions? The answer is yes.

The second question asks about capitalization after the colon and the answer is - it depends.

Let's say I am prepping someone for a job interview. I can tell them some topics that might come up and could look something like this:

Here are some topics you should be ready for: where were you last employed?, why did you leave? and, what was the name of your last supervisor?.

We have a list of topics and so are treated like a normal list. We can include the question marks because they are related to each question in the list (we could also leave off the question marks and have them be implied instead).

What if I happen to know what exactly the questions are going to be or I want to prep someone for some exact questions? In that case, I use quotes to denote that I'm referring to specific questions and will capitalize each one to indicate each is a separate sentence, like this:

Here are questions you should be ready for: "Where were you last employed?", "Why did you leave?" and, "What was the name of your last supervisor?."

This time I've listed specific questions that the person should be ready for. Same exact words but the intent behind them is different and therefore we punctuate differently.