An article describes one of the usage of colon as:

In bibliography entries.
Many citation styles use a colon to separate information in bibliography entries.
Example: Kurlansky, M. (2002). Salt: A world history. New York, NY: Walker and Co.

Can someone explain the above examples and rules for this usage? What exactly is separated by the colon?

  • 1
    This will vary based on what citation style the author is using. This is not an application of English language, it is a formatting system that standardizes citations. See MLA or APA formatting for examples. Therefore the colon is simply separating two pieces of information, in this case the city the book was published, from the publishing company.
    – katatahito
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 7:21
  • The first colon isn't separating anything per se. It's actually part of the title of the book. (Although if you want to analyze the title itself, it's separating the book's main title from its subtitle.) Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


In that example, the colon separates the place of publication and the name of the publisher.

The other colon is just part of the title of the citation.

Most biomedical styles use colons to separate the issue number of a journal from the page numbers of an article:

Hobbs S. Attitudes, practices, and beliefs of individuals consuming a raw food diet. Explore. 2005;1:272-277.

In the above, "Explore" is the journal/periodical name, 2005 the year published, 1 is the volume or issue number, and 272-277 are the article's page numbers.

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