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Colons

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Colons

Colons


Lists

Use a colon to mean “note what follows.”

(1) Use a colon before a list of items, especially after expressions such as as follows and the following.

EXAMPLES 
  • The stew had several ingredients: potatoes, carrots, and celery. [The colon tells a reader that a list follows.] 
  • The recipe was as follows: brown the onions, add the broth, and stir in the chopped vegetables. [The phrase as follows and the colon tell the reader that a list follows.]

NOTE

NOTE


Do not use a colon immediately after a verb or immediately after a preposition.

INCORRECT 
  • The school offered: fencing, archery, and karate. [The colon after the verb offered cuts off the verb from its complements fencing, archery, and karate.] 
CORRECT 
  • The school offered fencing, archery, and karate.

Quotations and Explanations

(2) Use a colon before a long, formal statement or quotation.

EXAMPLE 
  • Jane Austen opens Pride and Prejudice with a view of marriage: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” [A colon sets off the long quotation.]
(3) Use a colon between independent clauses when the second clause explains or restates the idea of the first.

EXAMPLE 
  • Gina grimaced suddenly: The kitten had attached itself to her ankle. [The second clause is set off with a colon because it explains the first clause.]

Conventional Situations

Use a colon in certain conventional situations.

Use a colon between the hour and the minute, between chapter and verse when referring to a passage from the Bible, between a title and a subtitle, and after the salutation of a business letter.

EXAMPLES 
  • 10:30 P.M. 
  • John 3:16 
  • Paw Prints: The Life of a Clever Cat [book] 
  • Dear Mr. Jones:
author-img
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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