- Introduces words, phrases, or clauses that explain, amplify, or summarize what has gone before: Suddenly I realized where we were: Rome. “There are two cardinal sins from which all the others spring: impatience and laziness.”—Franz Kafka
- Introduces a long quotation: In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable…”
- Introduces a list: We need the following items: pens, paper, pencils, blotters, and erasers.
- Separates chapter and verse numbers in Biblical references: James 1:4.
- Separates city from publisher in footnotes and bibliographies: Chicago: Riverside Press, 1983.
- Separates hour and minute(s) in time designations: 9:30 a.m., a 9:30 meeting.
- Follows the salutation in a business letter: Sir or Madam:
See also: The Colon.