So I'm going through a list of reasons to choose something, followed by a semicolon and then an explanation.

  • Aerodynamic resistance: The reason that this is important is bla bla bla...


  • Aerodynamic resistance: the reason that this is important is bla bla bla...

Is the first word after the colon capitalized?


2 Answers 2


You mention a 'semicolon' but then (correctly) use a colon.

A colon is nearly always preceded by a complete sentence; what follows the colon may or may not be a complete sentence, and it may be a mere list or even a single word.

British usage: no capital letter after a colon unless it is to start a proper noun or acronym.

American usage: a capital letter if the text after the colon is a complete sentence.


Michael Harvey's answer is quite comprehensive. Additionally, you may put a period between both parts, and if they represent two full independent sentences, you can use a colon and start the second part with a capital letter. I meet this type of spelling most often.

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