What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Could someone explain the correct usage of apostrophes and colons for the ACT English section?

I’ve got the basics down for the most part, but punctuation on the ACT English section still trips me up, especially apostrophes and colons. Does anyone have any foolproof rules or resources that could help clarify when and how to use them correctly?

7 months ago

Absolutely, I'd be happy to help clarify that! Apostrophes are primarily used in two cases: to show possession and to form contractions. For possession, if the noun is singular and doesn't end in 's', add apostrophe+s ('s); if it's plural or ends in 's', just add the apostrophe after the s (s'). An example is "the dog's ball" for one dog, or "the dogs' ball" if it belongs to multiple dogs. For contractions, the apostrophe takes the place of missing letters, like "don't" for "do not".

Colons are a bit trickier, but they're generally used before a list, a quote, or an explanation that is preceded by a complete sentence. An example could be "She had everything ready for the trip: a map, a compass, and an adventurous spirit." Just remember that colons often follow complete sentences, while semicolons link closely related complete sentences. Also, don't capitalize the first word after a colon unless it's a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.

For practice, I recommend looking at ACT English practice tests or grammar workbooks, which often have sections dedicated to punctuation. They can provide plenty of examples to test your understanding. Good luck on your ACT preparation!

7 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.