2.4 The colon
The colon is used to introduce:
- A list or series
- An expansion of a point or idea, or
- A quotation
1. Introducing a Series
The colon signals to the reader that a series is to follow.
Note that not every list needs to be introduced by a colon: the latter examples in each of the following are incorrect because there has to be a complete sentence on at least one side of the colon for the sentence to make sense. Think of the colon as a full-stop.
2. Introducing an Expansion
The colon signals to the reader that what is to follow is a definition, clarification, illustration, or other expansion on the point or idea that comes before the colon.
3. Introducing a Quotation
Use a colon to introduce a significant quotation. If the quotation is short, put it in quotation marks and carry on immediately after the colon.
If the quotation is lengthy, do not use quotation marks; instead, give the quoted material its own indented paragraph, missing a line before and after it.
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