The Colon

  • Use a colon (:) to introduce a list or series of items.
    You should have the following books and supplies with you on the
    first day of class: Roget’s Thesaurus, two pencils, a dictionary, and
    two notebooks.

    These are the eight parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adjective, verb,
    adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.

    Note: A colon should not follow directly after a verb or a preposition.
    The following two sentences include incorrect uses of the colon.

    The two days of the weekend are: Saturday and Sunday.
    We saw our dog run into: the woods, the house, and the
    neighbor’s backyard.

  • Use a colon after the salutation of a business letter.
    Dear Sirs:
    Dear Madam:

  • Use a colon between the hour and the minute of time.
    It is now 4:22.
    The train is due here at 5:08.

  • Use a colon between a title and a subtitle.
    Mary Shelley wrote the novel Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus.
    Did William Shakespeare write Twelfth Night: Or What You Will?