My hobby includes the following: watching TV; listening music; and driving.

I would like to know whether the following in the sentence above I created can be omitted as follow:

My hobby includes: watching TV; listening music; and driving.

I remembered that someone had said that it could not be omitted, but I found lots of sentences on the Internet that omit "the following".

  • 2
    I would drop the colon altogether. I would also replace the semicolons with commas, because this list is not that complex: My hobbies include watching TV, listening to music, and driving. Feb 5, 2021 at 15:30
  • 1
    My example sentence may be inappropriate for this question. I would like to know whether "the following" is omittable even when a set of colon and semicolon is used to list some words, phrases, or sentences.
    – rama9
    Feb 5, 2021 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


No, you don't have to say "the following" when you use a colon like that. The following or as follows is often used for a long complex list, like the one below.

I want to add a few other notes on the sentence you wrote, as follows:

  1. My hobbies include: watching TV; listening to music; and driving.

You mention more than one hobby, making it plural, i.e. hobbies. You then have to change "includes" to "include." More below in No. 2.

You have to say "listening to music." It is incorrect to say "listening music."

  1. You make hobby plural and drop the 's' on "include." In other words, when the subject adds an 's' the verb drops the 's'. Another example: The car drives slowly on the wet pavement./The cars drive slowly on the wet pavement.

  2. You don't need semicolons between items in your sentence; a comma is enough. A semicolon is often used instead of a period, that is, when you come almost to a stop but not quite. It is also used in a list of items when items include a lot of words, especially when commas are included within items. An example of such items might be: watching the science, history, and news channels on TV; listening to music such as oldies, pop and jazz; and driving here, there, and everywhere, wherever there's a challenge like a narrow curving road or a ledge along a mountain face.

  3. You don't need a colon in your sentence. It is correct to write:

My hobbies include watching TV, listening to music, and driving.

All the best as you continue learning English.


Slight correction, you should write "My hobbies include: ..."

('Hobby' should be plural, but 'includes' should be singular, as 'hobbies' is a group.)

It is perfectly normal usage to omit "the following", indeed most people would find that rather too formal.


Actually it is pretty rare and usually redundant to say "the following" before a colon. The fact that you put a colon indicates that something is "following". I think it's usually used just because the writer thinks a sentence is too short and abrupt, and he feels he needs extra words to make it "flow" better. I'm hard pressed to think of a case where "the following" would really be needed to make the meaning of the sentence clear, though maybe I'm just not thinking hard enough to come up with a good example.

Side note: As others have noted, you say "my hobby", singular, but then list three things, which sounds like three hobbies, so it should be "hobbies", plural. Using a singular here could be valid if this is one complex hobby with several parts to it. Like one might say, "My hobby is building bird houses. This hobby includes: selecting the right plans, cutting the wood, nailing it together, painting it, and hanging it from a tree." But I don't think that applies in this case.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .