Other than using it to format time correctly (3:30 p.m.), the main use for a colon is to introduce a list. The AP Style rule of thumb is to only capitalize the word that begins the list or series if it’s a proper noun. 

  • Hudl has several video review tools: playlists, text effects and drawings.”
  • We have three forwards: Mike, Dan and Sam.”

But with rules come exceptions:

  • If the list or series extends over multiple sentences, you should capitalize the first word after the colon.
  • Capitalize the first word after the colon if you’re introducing a complete sentence that clarifies or expands on the original sentence.

For more on lists, see our best practices.

Last Updated: 20 May 2020 at 10:48am CDT