How to use the colon ?

The colon has two uses:

  • To indicate that what follows it is an explanation or elaboration of what precedes it (the rule being that the more general statement is followed by a more specific one) [There is one challenge above all others: the alleviation of poverty.]
  • To introduce a list [There are four nations in the United Kindom: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.]
  • Note: A colon is never preceded by a white space, but it is always followed by a white space, and it is never followed by a hyphen or a dash.

    Other uses of colon are:

    1. Use a colon to mean “note what follows.”

    Example: When you go to training, take these items: paper, pencil, and an alert mind.

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

    Example: We remember Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: Four score and seven years ago….

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