Colons in References, Times, Ratios, and Titles

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Colons in References, Ratios, Times, and Titles

Colons are useful to divide the parts of:
  • References.

    For example:
    • Genesis 1:1 starts "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
  • Ratios.

    For example:
    • It's myth that the ratio of women to men in Nottingham is 6:1.
  • Times.

    For example:
    • The happiest hour of the day is between 19:00 and 20:00.
    • The marathon world record is 2:02:57. The 800m world record is 1:40.91.
    • (Colons are used in timings greater than a minute.)
  • Titles.

    For example:
    • "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
    • (A semicolon, a comma, and "or" are also commonly used to separate a title from a subtitle.)
Colons often make better separators than the alternative punctuation marks.

colons as separators in references, times, ratios, and titles

Another Example of Colons Used in a Reference

Here is another example of colons used in a reference:
  • Learn Chapter XIV: Section 4: Paragraph 6 by tomorrow.
  • (Commas could have been used in this example.)

Examples of Colons Used in Titles

Here are two more examples of colons used to separate main titles from subtitles:
  • "How To Get Your Own Way: Who's Manipulating You?"
  • "Grammar Rules: Writing with Military Precision"

Example of Colons Used in Times

Here is another example of a colon used to separate the hours from the minutes in a time:
  • The alarm clock is set for 07:30.
  • (0730 and 07.30 are also correct.)
Ready for the Test?
Here is a confirmatory test for this lesson.

This test can also be:
  • Edited (i.e., you can delete questions and play with the order of the questions).
  • Printed to create a handout.
  • Sent electronically to friends or students.

See Also

How to use colons to extend sentences Using colons for introductions Colons with bullet points Colons with quotations