Here is my sentence:

Can you roll-back the fix: is that a possible option?

I feel like this follows the rules for a colon, since the first half could be a sentence by itself, and the second half can't be a sentence, because "that" refers to the first half.

However, I have never seen a colon in a question, so it seems wrong.


  • I'm confused by what you mean by "the rules for a colon". You seem to mean that "the first half could be a sentence by itself, and the second have [I assume you mean "half"] can't be a sentence". However, that's not a requirement for a colon. Can you explain? Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 19:25
  • 2
    "Is that a possible option?" is a valid sentence. Here "that" is a demonstrative pronoun.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 21:11
  • @MarcInManhattan I was referring to semi-colon vs colon rules. I understand that a if the two halves are complete sentences you use a semi-colon, if not you use a colon.
    – GC_
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 20:40
  • Two separate sentences seems fine in general, though.
    – GC_
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 20:41
  • @GC_ English style guides prescribe various rules, of course, but it is very common to allow a "complete sentence" to follow a colon. For example: "She explained why her stomach was growling: She hadn't eaten since breakfast." (Some guides would capitalize the second "she", while others wouldn't.) Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 0:15

1 Answer 1


This is misuse of the colon. You want it to splice together two independent clauses, but that's not what it's for.

Instead, write:

"Can you roll-back the fix? Is that a possible option?"

This is perfectly fine. It is OK for "that" to refer to the action indicated in the previous sentence.

Think of a colon as a way of saying "...and here it is" before what follows: it signals a more complete statement of what was previously mentioned.

  • Feels like kind of redundant as two sentences. However, I can't think of a better option.
    – GC_
    Commented Feb 8 at 19:25

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