Danielle’s question: “We are having a debate in the office as to whether you can use a colon after the word ‘including’ in the middle of a sentence. Can you please help us?”
BizWritingTip response: A colon signals to the reader that an explanation follows. You can only use a colon if a complete sentence precedes it.
Our trip covers many countries including: England, France and Germany. (The words before the colon — our trip covers many countries including — do not form a complete sentence. You cannot use a colon.)
Example (correct – without a colon)
Our trip covers many countries including England, France and Germany. (The words form a complete sentence and do not require any punctuation after including.)
Our trip covers many countries: England, France and Germany. (By omitting the word including, you have a complete sentence.)