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Colons - Glossary of Terms


The main use of a colon (:) is to introduce whatever follows.  A colon can be used to introduce a list or an appositive at the end of a sentence. (Appositive: another description or name for something previously mentioned in the sentence.)


The following were absent: Charles, Smith, Wainwright and Dodds.
                                                       appositive of "the following"

His influence is obvious in two buildings: the local church and pavilion. 
                                                                  appositive of "two buildings"

Colons are also used in ratios (e.g., 2:1), times (e.g., 8:20) and reference numbers in books (e.g., Paragraph 1:17).  
Associated pages:
How to use colons to extend sentences
Colons in references
Using colons for introductions
Colons with bullet points
Colons with quotations
Glossary of grammatical terms

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