Punctuation Tip: Colon (:)

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The colon signals a pause longer than a semi-colon but shorter than a full stop. You may follow a colon with a capital or small letter. Use a capital letter if the words following make a complete sentence.

 The colon signals a pause longer than a semi-colon but shorter than a full stop. You may follow a colon with a capital or small letter. Use a capital letter if the words following make a complete sentence.

 

Use a colon:

Before a list

I have three duties: dictation, typing and filing.

Before a statement that explains, enlarges or summarises

We need to find a solution: one that will solve all our problems.

Before a long quotation

To show ratios

2:1 30:70

To show references

Matthew 2:13

Do not use a colon:

Before a list of items that immediately follows a verb or a preposition

Wrong: The job requirements are: research, writing and public speaking.

Right: The job requirements are research, writing and public speaking.

With a dash to introduce a list or dot points

Wrong: There were three parts:- introduction, theme and conclusion.

Right: There were three parts: introduction, theme and conclusion.

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