gasstationwithoutpumps on colons (and a link to his book)

7.12.2 Colons

Colons are also frequently misused, generally by inserting them where no punctuation at all would be best.

The colon is normally used between a noun phrase and a restatement of the noun phrase. A common noun phrase before a colon is the following—consider the following: thing one, thing two, and thing three. This usage is so common that a lot of people try to put colons before every list, which is simply wrong. Note that having the list displayed as bullet points doesn’t change any of the punctuation rules. There are no colons unless you are separating a noun phrase from its restatement.

OK: . . . include the following: a resistor, a capacitor, and a transistor.
No colon: . . . include a resistor, a capacitor, and a transistor.

Don’t use a colon between a verb and its object, nor between a preposition and its object, even if the object is a displayed list or a math formula.

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The book is on electronics, but there is a chapter on writing design reports. That chapter is available in the free sample chapters . . . 

I’ll be updating the book soon (probably December, before the winter courses start in January). People who buy the book get notified of the updates, which are free to purchasers.

 

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