Colon (punctuation)

The colon ":" (including the colon) is a punctuation mark, which is preceded by a quote, a literal quotation or an enumeration. It can also initiate explanations and summaries of the foregoing,. The colon is both divisive and stressing.

He finds application also as a Shared characters in mathematical expressions as well as a delimiter in mixing ratios (eg "2: 1", spoken: 2 to 1), scales and times. The Germans Scores are separated by a colon; in Swedish, for example, he may in prices in the place of the decimal point ("3: -") or enter into reductions in the place of the apostrophe; there and in English it separates book and verse in the Bible references. In French typography there is a space before the colon.

Use in the language

The colon is counted among the middle of a sentence characters, as well as the comma or a semicolon. It stands within a compound sentence; However, it can both before and are a main clause after the colon. On the other hand, it can never be put at the end of a (logical) paragraph.

And ... in front of a quoted literal listed thoughts after the announcement sentence: I said: "What is not, can not be. " - The mother thought, " I'll stay home."

... When they are announced in advance: The four directions are: East, West, South, North. - The lunar eclipse can be explained like this: The shadow of the earth falls on the moon; this is therefore darkened wholly or partially.

We're hiring:

  • Buyer / inside
  • Clerk / inside
  • Programmer / inside

The colon as a flag character is unnecessary and should be omitted if the list already precedes another form of notice. These are words such as " therefore ", "special", " name ", " namely ", " like", "for example", " namely ", " that implies ", " ie ", "inter alia", " among others " - The ship operates only three days, namely, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Note to enumerations:

. Reads the sentence The four cardinal directions are east, west, south and north, then you can - but need not - before the enumerated terms are set by a colon. Example: The four directions are (:) east, west, south and north. If there is no conjunction ( here: and ), a colon must be set. (Info: Duden- Service )

... If they constitute an explanation or summary: In the end it turned out: The report was completely invented. - Cattle and horses, sheep and goats, pigs and poultry: Everything can be found on this farm.

Antecedent ... and a postscript: cars honking, trams screech, rattle rattle and motorcycles, trucks roar: This is the melody of the city.

Signatures ..., final grades, assessment notes, schedule times and the like The Obermann: Karl Seeger - German: Very good - Style: Could be liquid. - 13:20 ( also item is available: 13.20 clock ).

Uppercase and lowercase letters

After the colon is usually further capitalized when an independent sentence follows.

If the colon could be replaced by a dash, lower case is permitted in self-employment rates.

In all other cases will continue to lowercase, unless the colon is directly followed by a noun.

  • He called them all together: his cook, his wife and her lover.
  • In Hamburg she found what she had yearned: an underground mansion.


Within headlines a colon is set according to the above rules. At the end of headlines a colon seems to be basically redundant because headings stand out clearly through their graphic design from ordinary text and its impending function is sufficiently apparent. A colon is set as the center character set only where the imminent and the announced text are part of graphics and content perceived as relatively closely belonging.

Use of information technology

In the ASCII character set of the colon has the numerical value 58 (hexadecimal: 0x3A ). It is used in the markup language XML as a sign to separate name space and day. In HTML, the colon can alternatively using HTML Entity: be embedded. In C / C it is used to mark Anchor links. In C name conflicts are resolved by the same identifiers in different namespaces using the operator formed by two colons ::.