Questions tagged [colons]

Questions related to the use of the colon (":") in English.

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34 votes
5 answers
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Punctuation for the phrase "including but not limited to"

When using the phrase "including but not limited to", how should it be punctuated? When used in the following (no punctuation): There are many activities including but not limited to ...
Cory Gross's user avatar
33 votes
5 answers
43k views

Is it proper to use a colon followed immediately by a hyphen?

I have seen some writing where people have a list or a figure in writing and they will write something like this: The information is provided in Image 3:- Is that correct? Is this a British ...
way0utwest's user avatar
26 votes
5 answers
57k views

Sentences ending with both a colon and a question mark

How should sentences that end with both a colon and a question mark be formed? Two examples are below, both questions, but one in which the colon presents a piece of information and the other in which ...
Synetech's user avatar
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26 votes
4 answers
70k views

Punctuation after "P.S."

Somewhere in the craggy quagmire of my memory, I seem to recall that the nuns of my grade school days taught me that a P.S. (post script) is followed by a colon, i.e. P.S.: Alas, the periods after ...
Compoundedly complex's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
31k views

Spaces around a colon

In a recent test, I fixed a feature and I was given the document back because it was pointed out the following was not correct. Name: Sandy Corporation I was asked to do this Name : Sandy ...
TheTechGuy's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
8k views

Should the first word after a colon be capitalized?

Should the first word after a colon be capitalized? Which of the following is correct? For example: This. For example: this.
Maxpm's user avatar
  • 1,955
17 votes
5 answers
86k views

What is the correct punctuation after "as follows"?

I am consistently confused by by the usage of "as follows", in particular, I don't know if I should end "as follows" with a period, or with a colon. Should I always use a colon, or ...
Fraïssé's user avatar
  • 159
15 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the difference between using a colon and a semi-colon to join two sentences?

I've seen a few questions on this site relating to semi-colons, which I believe I correctly understand, but what I'm not as clear about is colons. For example: The man ate the apple; it tasted ...
Paul Michaels's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
568 views

Does this sentence make proper use of the semicolon and colon?

I have the following sentence: Relationships once so convoluted and beyond me were now clear: Pain became love; betrayal, loyalty; nonchalance, care. What I'm trying to accomplish is list ...
Qcom's user avatar
  • 889
11 votes
2 answers
19k views

Can I use two colons in a sentence?

Can I use two colons in a sentence? A typical example would be something like the following: Note: I have substantial experience with the following languages: Python, Java, C++, and Perl. I have ...
MrHen's user avatar
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9 votes
7 answers
13k views

Colons after a single word (e.g. "Example:")

Everywhere I look, I seem to be finding examples of colons being used after a single word. "Examples: The dog is brown. The cat is white." "Recommended: Take this twice a week. Not recommended: ...
Bergam0t's user avatar
  • 109
9 votes
2 answers
34k views

Period or colon? [closed]

Say, I have the following sentence: "The Gaussian Sobolev spaces are as expected defined as follows" and then you do a definition environment after. The question is: how do you end "as follows"? With ...
user 85795's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why ; is called semicolon and what is its history? [closed]

Semi- is a Latin prefix meaning "half" and colon is another punctuation. Should I therefore say that semicolon is a halved colon?
caxekis's user avatar
  • 151
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Understanding appositives and the use of the m-dash ( — )

My understanding of a dash is that it sets off a lengthy appositive, but can also be used to introduce a summary. Consider the following passage from Stephan Jay Gould: If evolution worked ...
Adam Rackis's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
610 views

Using "?:" after a question

I find myself using the dual punctuation marks "?:" when I want to say "I have a question about the thing that follows". For example: Is it possible for the following sentence to be translated into ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
708 views

Usage of colon in English writing

It seems colons are used more restrictively in English than in my native language (German), so I'm having a bit of trouble with it. Do you think the use of the colon in the following sentences is ...
Frank's user avatar
  • 271
6 votes
1 answer
7k views

A colon after "following"

When I reference to the next sentence or sentences using the term following, is the preferred way to use a colon or a full stop? An example: Consider the sentence 'I wash the clothes'. Replacing ...
Mathias Soeken's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
18k views

Colon use when introducing a list split across sentences

I understand that a colon should be used to introduce a list: We required three ingredients: eggs, milk and butter. However, what happens if there is a full stop between list elements? We ...
Bill Cheatham's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
716 views

Confusion between colon and dash

For example, take a look at the following sentence: There’s nothing to see — no one can handle you, dear. What are the general guidelines?
Anderson Silva's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
4k views

Are em dashes acceptable in lists?

I often see lists written as follows (using em dashes to elaborate a list item): Item 1—explanation for item 1 Item 2—explanation for item 2 Is this generally correct, or are colons preferable?
Hypercube's user avatar
  • 161
4 votes
2 answers
5k views

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?
Srinivas Reddy Thatiparthy's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
10k views

Punctuation to introduce a list: comma vs. colon vs. nothing

Which of these sentences is written correctly? Angela has three brothers, Mark, Adam, and Ryan. Angela has three brothers: Mark, Adam, and Ryan. Angela has three brothers Mark, Adam, and ...
user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Colon usage in English

I have always thought that colons were used to clarify, expand, provide evidence for the preceding sentence, or show an example. I have heard that this is not true. (Truly, it is a shame if it is so: ...
Peter Olson's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Proper punctuation of “John’s last words were ‘———’ ” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I punctuate around quotes? When attributing a quote to someone, you put a comma before the quote: John said, "———" But is the comma still used in the following ...
Aushin's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
1 answer
5k views

Should a colon be used after "for example"?

I am having difficulty deciding when a colon should be used in a sentence. I have a specific example that I was unable to resolve via browsing the web The research centre will use confidence ...
JulianAngussmith's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
32k views

What is a correct punctuation for a sentence starting with "One more thing"?

In the following sentence what would be the correct punctuation One more thing don't tell anyone about our conversation. Should "One more thing" be separated by comma, dash or colon? Or perhaps ...
alexeit's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
8k views

A trail of colons

I find I often, when writing, want to string colons together. Here is a recent example: These two moments would be likely candidates for retelling: they both connect the people of San Andrés Tuxtla ...
Unrelated's user avatar
  • 4,933
4 votes
1 answer
538 views

Can a colon split a verb and the rest of the predicate? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Punctuation to introduce a list: comma vs. colon vs. nothing Is this use of a colon incorrect? I wrote an application whose features included: doing this, doing that, and ...
Adam Rackis's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Punctuation following an interruption with a dash

I am not sure what the correct punctuation to use when ending a clause that was introduced with a dash when the next character in the main sentence is a punctuation mark. Take the following contrived ...
Rodrigue's user avatar
  • 655
3 votes
1 answer
627 views

Semi-colon or colon?

I'm writing a descriptive piece, and can't figure out whether this is grammatically correct, or whether I ought to place a semi-colon between "entry" and "crooked": "As I walked in using the cobbled ...
user97971's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
6k views

A question regarding colon usage twice in a title

In the article title below, can the second colon be replaced with some other punctuation? Description of the eurotarget cohort: A european collaborative project on targeted therapy in renal cell ...
vasu's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
3 answers
515 views

Rule of punctuation when a principal sentence is followed by two or more subordinate sentences

I put below a text I found in a written reply I came across: "...in the Audit Report, it is stated that we did not rebut the Draft Audit Report (DAR). The actual fact is otherwise: we had prepared ...
Dinesh Kumar Garg's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
545 views

Interchangeability of "—" (dash) and ":" (colon)

Let me cite two examples, one using "—" (dash) and the other using ":" (colon): John has three sisters — Sita, Mita and Rita. John has three sisters: Sita, Mita and Rita. ...
Dinesh Kumar Garg's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Colon between "that is" and formal definition

Is it appropriate to use "that is" followed by a colon when defining something formally? I have the following example: Let γ be the set of groups that hold variables accessed by C, that is: ...
Eduardo Bezerra's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
9k views

Can I use a colon twice in one sentence?

Can I use a colon twice in a sentence? For example, I would like to punctuate the following sentence as shown: These are hugely important factors for S. Oliver Canada as we’re dealing with a brand: ...
David S.'s user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

punctuation if dash introduces question-sentences

He worried--why X; what will happen if Y? It seems that this construction expresses the idea best, but it creates a few punctuation questions. Should the first semicolon be question-mark? Is there ...
Joe Black's user avatar
  • 970
3 votes
1 answer
421 views

Correct colon and semi-colon usage?

I thought of this while walking and wanted to write it down. I would like to know if I am using punctuation correctly in this sentence-- particularly the use of the colon and semi-colon. And please ...
Paige Haas's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
4k views

What punctuation should follow after a list introduced by a colon?

The whole department: John, Jeff, Jean, and the accountant [?] were thrown into jail.
RoDaSm's user avatar
  • 454
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the best way to punctuate titles that have subtitles with subtitles?

I am going through a few movies and I see Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions. Are that many colons appropriate? I am inclined to use em-dashes for the next subtitle, leading to Pokémon: Zoroark — ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
2 answers
201 views

Use of punctuation in complex list with two sets of appositives

How would you punctuate the sentence below? Is it okay the way it is? I've never seen a sentence that introduced more than one list with a colon. I considered just taking out the colons. I also ...
A. Stewart's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
361 views

The use of colon in the sentence

I have a hard time understanding the use of the colon in the following sentence: Marriage is like a supermarket: easy to get into but hard to get out of. Is the part after the colon a list of two ...
user2840286's user avatar
2 votes
5 answers
699 views

Should there be a comma or a colon here?

His latest album is Foo featuring his band, Bar. His latest album is Foo featuring his band: Bar. Which is the more appropriate way to punctuate the sentence?
aslum's user avatar
  • 2,214
2 votes
4 answers
6k views

What to do about multiple sentences following a colon?

For example: It happened only a handful of times in my lifetime: once when I went to the store. It just had to be done. There was no choice. Another when heading to the beach in 2013... Should I ...
TheOne's user avatar
  • 391
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Using a "colon" after "is" or "this"

I've seen this a few times now and it confuses me, especially when my editor does it. According to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition, a colon can only be used where a period could. In other ...
Bruce RF's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
5k views

Can you use a colon to introduce just a single item instead of a list?

Colons are usually used to introduce a list of some kind after an independent clause; however, would it work for a single item? For example, can you write For 3 years, I ate hamburgers: my friend's ...
jrs's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
1 answer
7k views

Can the colon introduce only two objects? [closed]

"Here are two choices: pizza and hot dogs." Would that be correct, or can the colon only introduce three or more objects?
chraosn's user avatar
  • 29
2 votes
1 answer
260 views

Colon after 'Destination'

in a novel, if I write this at the start of chapter: Destination: New York. Destination New York. Should I use the colon or not?
MoniqueH's user avatar
  • 849
2 votes
1 answer
40 views

"It is the god-given given that must be accepted because it cannot be changed." vs a colon

Is the difference purely stylistic, or is there a slight change of meaning in using one form of over the other? "It is the god-given given that must be accepted because it cannot be changed," as ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
1k views

Using colon at end of a list

Although I do not know the name of the rule, I do understand that a colon is typically used to elaborate on a single thought or idea. For example: "I love all types of burritos: Californian, Mexican,...
Eddie Barranco's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
6k views

Em-dash vs colon: "Remind me: what's your name again?" or "Remind me—what's your name again?"

I have a sentence (and other sentences like it) in which I'm not sure what punctuation to use. Remind me—what's your name again? Remind me: what's your name again? Or is there something else ...
Abluescarab's user avatar

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