Use a colon (:) to give more information about something mentioned previously in the sentence. For example:|
Using ColonsA sentence can be extended with a colon when the writer wishes to expand on something already mentioned in the sentence. (A colon is used to introduce some more information about something previously mentioned in the sentence.) For example:
Using SemicolonsA sentence can be extended with a semicolon when a slight break is preferable to a new sentence.For example:
Using Three DotsIf you want to create pause for effect, use three dots. For example:
three dots used as a pause for effect (correct usage)
Using DashesConfused about colons, semicolons, and three dots? Use a dash. The dash performs all the functions of the colon, the semicolon, and three dots mentioned above.
Author has used a dash as a pause for effect.
Author could also have used three dots.
A COLON IS LIKE AN EQUALS SIGN
Many people like to think of a colon as an equals sign. Look at the examples to the left.
A colon should only be used to extend a sentence when you are introducing words which expand on something previously mentioned. When a slight break is preferable to a new sentence, you should use a semicolon.
WHAT DOES IN APPOSITION MEAN?
The words after the colon are known as an appositive phrase. (It just means an equal phrase.) You can also use the term in apposition to. For example:
Three dots can also be used to show that words have been omitted. This is covered in the lesson about ellipsis in quotations.
DON'T RELY SOLELY ON DASHES
Although a dash covers the functions of a colon, a semicolon, and 3 dots, it is worthwhile learning how all are used so you can choose the one that looks best in your sentence. In the example below, there are already several hyphens and dashes. Therefore, using the 3 dots is preferable to another dash.