Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Punctuation Part Two – That lovely colon

Some things in life are boring, but necessary, like doing dishes and taking a shower. (Sometimes even blogging can be like this! LOL) They aren’t thrilling and can be very tedious. Yet without them life would be messy. So it is with punctuation. As far as I’m concerned, I could write and write and then hand over my manuscript and let someone else deal with the nitty gritty punctuation stuff.

However if we want to be a successful writer, punctuation is a must. Especially in these days when writers must, to an extent, be their own editors. So lets take a brief (and possibly painful- if you don't like grammar) look at the correct way to use a colon.

Colon Rules:
1 – Use a colon after a complete sentence when introducing a list.

Example – When I went shopping I bought the following items: milk, frozen pizza, oatmeal, and sugar.
2 – Use a colon to direct attention to an appositive.

Example – She discovered there was only one thing she wanted: his true love.

3 – Use a colon after a complete sentence before a quotation.
Example – The beginning of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina brilliantly foreshadows what is to come: “
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

4 – Capitalize the first word after a colon if it:
A- Introduces dialog in a play.

Example – Don Pedro: I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
Benedick: With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord. Not with love.
B- If the first word is a proper noun.

Example – The West children are as follows: Ann, Jerry, Elizabeth, and Joy.
C-If the colon precedes two or more related sentences.

Example – We will never succeed unless we do three things: Persevere during difficult times. Keep calm no matter what. Always trust the Lord.

 In Conclusion
So there you have it. Colon rules in a nutshell. Hopefully these help as you write your novels and maybe spare you some headache. Next week I will get back to the fun blogs about Edwardian England in all its finery and beauty!

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