As a punctuation mark
, the colon is most commonly used to introduce a list
of parallel phrase
s. The items in this list are most often separated by comma
s; however, if they contain commas themselves they are separated by semicolon
s. A colon may also be used to introduce a bulleted
or numbered list
This is an example of the use of the colon, restating the above:
- A colon may be used with a list of comma-separated items: a cat, a dog, and a hamster.
- It may also be used with semicolon-separated items: a cat, who was orange; a dog, who was barking up the wrong tree; and a hamster, who was dancing.
- It may also be used to introduce a bulleted or numbered list.