Special Cases Using Colons

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Special Cases Using Colons

There are half a dozen special uses for the colon.

1. Numerical expressions of time.

Example: 5:31 p.m.
The colon goes between the hour and minute. If seconds are noted, a colon goes between the minute and second.

Example: He ran the marathon in 2:14:33.2.
(Two hours, fourteen minutes, and thirty-three point two seconds.)

Example: He ran the mile in 4:12.
(Four minutes and twelve seconds)

2. Periodical references in a bibliography or formal reference.

This may vary slightly depending on the form followed. Most frequently the reference is Volume:Issue Number or Volume:Page Number.

3. Bible references, Chapter:Verse.

Example: John 3:16
(“The book of John, chapter 3, verse 16.”)

4. Subtitles for books, periodicals, and articles are preceded by a colon.

Example: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

5. Salutations in business letters are followed by a colon.

Example:  Dear Sir:

6. Colons follow labels that identify important ideas meant to get attention.

Warning: To be opened by authorized personnel only.
Notice: Do not use before October 15.

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