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What are the valid uses of the : symbol?
I've been taught conflicting things.
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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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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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the left and right eye of a smiley.
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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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You may connect two sentences with the colon, while the semicolon can connect two sentence fragments.
Mike liked red apples; Sally liked green.
The BBC is funded from the TV licence: commercial channels are funded from advertising.
li te'o te'a vei pai pi'i ka'o ve'o su'i pa du li no
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QED is Latin for small empty box.
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