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Colons are not greatly used in punctuating English these days, other than in LISTS and for purposes of clear PRESENTATION.


Colons can be used to introduce items in a list.


All participants should carry the following items: a compass, OS map of the area, waterproof clothing, a whistle and a first aid kit.


The colon should be preceded by the title of the list; in this instance, "the following items".  In the following example, the title is "ingredients".


Gather together all the ingredients: diced chicken, ginger, pineapple chunks and fresh peppers.


Colons may also be used as a presentation device to ensure that there is no confusion over what is meant.  (See the paragraphs headed IF / THEN / SO in the POSSESSIVE APOSTROPHES section.)




Introduction - Capital letters - Full stops - Question Marks - Exclamation marks - Abbreviations - Contractions - Commas - Speech marks (Quotation marks - Inverted comas) - Possessive apostrophes - Colons - Semi-colons - Brackets - Hyphens - Dashes - Obliques (slashes)