One very common error is to use a colon after the word including or after such as. These situations, however, do not call for colons. The word including or the expression such as is really better viewed as the start of an “end phrase” or, in other words, a phrase following a clause. Look at these correct examples:

(a) J.B. Rhine of Duke University has conducted scientific studies of various aspects of parapsychology, including clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, and telepathy.

(b) J.B. Rhine of Duke University has conducted scientific studies of various aspects of parapsychology, such as clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, and telepathy.

You should not use a colon in (a) and (b). Try rewriting the sentence about J.B. Rhine so that a colon is appropriate. Then punctuate sentences 1 through 4:

1. These are the seven deadly sins anger covetousness envy gluttony lust pride and sloth.

2. He committed each and every one of the seven deadly sins anger covetousness envy gluttony lust pride and sloth.

3. She committed a number of the seven deadly sins including anger envy lust and sloth.

4. Of the seven deadly sins, they had their own personal favorites such as gluttony lust and sloth.

1. sins: anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, and sloth; 2. sins: anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, and sloth; 3. sins, including anger, envy, lust, and sloth; 4. favorites, such as gluttony, lust, and sloth.