Colons are used to draw attention to certain words. They are used after an independent clause to direct attention to a list, appositive or quotation, between independent clauses when the second clause summarizes or emphasizes the first clause, or after the greeting in a formal letter. Some examples follow.
|?||There was only one possible explanation: The train had never arrived.|
|Quotation||In the words of Homer: "Doh!"|
|Between independent clauses||Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get.|
|Introduction of a definition||Hypernym of a word: a word having a wider meaning than the given one.||Is a special case of appositive.|
|After salutation||Dear Sir or Madam:|
|In a dialogue||Patient: Doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains.
Doctor: Pull yourself together!
|Separation of title from subtitle||Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope|
|Separation of the chapter and the verse numbers of religious scriptures||
|Separation within time of the day||
|Between a verb and its object||
||By omitting the colon, the example becomes correct.|
|Between a preposition and its object||My cars of choice consist of: Honda Accord and Ford GT.||By omitting the colon, the example becomes correct.|
|After "such as", "including" or "for example"|