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Using a colon before lists and enumerations

Place a colon before such expressions as for example, namely and that is when they introduce words, phrases or a series of clauses anticipated earlier in the sentence.

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The hospital provides a number of benefits to employees: namely, free immunizations, low-cost prescription drugs, and a child daycare center.

The patient was advised to continue his current diabetic foot regimen: that is, never go barefoot, wear lace-up shoes and check his feet daily.

When a clause contains an anticipatory expression, such as the following, as follows, here is and these, and directs attention to a series of explanatory words, phrases or clauses, use a colon between the clause and the series.

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The hospital provides the following benefits to employees: free immunizatins, low-cost prescription drugs, and a child daycare center.

The patient was advised to continue the following diabetic foot regimen: never go barefoot, wear lace-up shoes and check his feet daily.

Use a colon even if the anticipatory expression is only implied.

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The new hospital has many attractive features: private rooms, state-of-the-art electronics and a day room.

Always use a colon before an in-line numbered list.

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The patient was discharged with the following instructions: (1) advance diet as tolerated, (2) Vicodin p.r.n. pain, and (3) follow up in the clinic in 3 days.

Do not use a colon if an explanatory series follows an introductory clause that does not express a complete thought. (n such cases, the introductory element often ends with a verb or preposition.

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The patient is on Diovan, folic acid and Vasotec.
He comes into the clinic complaining of fever, chills and nausea.
The committee consists of Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Smith and Ms. O'Dell.

 


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Page last modified on Monday 15 of August, 2011 20:20:13 UTC by admin.
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