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I can think of many examples where an enmuration helps in understanding the sentence. However, I am not sure whether it is correct to put a colon before each enumeration. So which of the following sentences is incorrect?

(a) The density function can be estimated using both: (i)... and (ii) ...

(b) The density function can be categorized into two categories: (i)... and (ii) ...

(c) The properties of the density function are: (i)... and (ii) ...

(d) A function is called a density function whenever: (i)... and (ii) ...

(e) A function is called a density function if: (i)... and (ii) ...

Thanks

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    You certainly shouldn't use (i)...(2); eiether use (1)...(2) or (i)...(ii).
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 15:59
  • @ChrisH Oh you are right. This was a typo & a CopyPaste. But do you have an answer for my question?
    – Shaki
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 17:40
  • I don't like to say "always" - hence no answer. I'm unlikely to enumerate only 2 items. Assuming you have more, personally I'd use a colon in b and c but probably not the others. That's not too say it's wrong though.
    – Chris H
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 18:03

1 Answer 1

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This blog post from Grammar Girl advises to only use a colon [I]f your lead-in statement is a complete sentence, use a colon at the end to introduce your list.

The Chicago Manual of Style website agrees in their FAQ.

That seems to be a good ground rule unless you are writing for anyone who has a style guide. If you are writing for a big company or a university find out if there is a style guide defining such things.

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  • Thanks!. So you mean that only (b) needs a colon?
    – Shaki
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 8:09
  • @Shaki Exactly :)
    – Helmar
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 20:32

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