The colon

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The colon

Postby zenten » Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:16 pm UTC

What are the valid uses of the : symbol?

I've been taught conflicting things.
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Postby ArchangelShrike » Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:58 pm UTC

I am in no position to be telling anyone anything about English, but I always learned it was for displaying lists: apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, tomatoes, etc...

But then again, I am usually out of my league with grammar.
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Postby Bakemaster » Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:35 pm UTC

Denoting a list, presenting an example as a new paragraph/section (for in-sentence examples a comma generally works, doesn't it?), or whenever the pause of a semicolon is too short and that of a full stop too long. That is, of course, some combination of formal education and my own personal opinion.
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Postby damienthebloody » Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:43 am UTC

the left and right eye of a smiley.
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Postby Khonsu » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:42 am UTC

Colons can be used before lists and quotations (e.g. "Mark Twain wrote on the subject:" or similar), and for separating independent clauses (though a semicolon is usually used, a colon is acceptable for effect), and for usage with appositives for emphasis (e.g. "The moral of the story: Always speak the truth!").

Of course we use colons for time notation, subtitles in media, and for certain reference styles (periodicals, Bible verses).
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Postby cmacis » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:48 pm UTC

You may connect two sentences with the colon, while the semicolon can connect two sentence fragments.

Mike liked red apples; Sally liked green.
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