1. hoboxjohn
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    hoboxjohn New Member

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    Puncuation help

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by hoboxjohn, Jul 21, 2010.

    I don't know what I consider more mind-blowing: Inception or witnessing a double rainbow in person

    Is that the right use of the colon? if not, can someone tell me how to properly punctuate this sentence.
     
  2. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    Technically yes you can use a colon in that way. However, you don't put a capital letter after it, the word preceding it should be lower case as it is part of the same sentence.

    A colon should only follow an independent clause and 'I don't know what I consider more mind-blowing is (just about!) an independent clause. Colons are used to introduce so it does seem to fit in this one. It is quite a comic sentence and I think the colon adds to this somewhat. Remember you need a full stop at the end too.

    :)
     
  3. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    I would also add a comma after the word "inception"
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Most often you do capitalize after a colon, but it's not a single, simple rule. I recommend getting and using a writing guide that goes into some depth on punctuation, such as The Little, Brown Handbook.

    You can also google capitalize after colon and read several good articles on the matter.

    In your sentence, what comes after the colon lacks a parallel structure. Your alternatives are a name and an action. I would either change it to watching Inception, or seeing a double rainbow in person or Inception or a double rainbow. Personally, I prefer the latter.
     
  5. twinstargemini
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    twinstargemini Member

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    I know people may dislike me for this, but punctuation is too subjective. Since, during my linguistics lecture, we have been taught that punctuation is too artificial and when looking at the works of Beowulf and The Dead Sea Scrolls. Punctuation never existed. It's just a rule we added to the English language and, sooner or later, we will adding extra rules. Since, one question came from a famous linguist, how come we don't we learn punctuation from birth. I just thought you would like to know and, yes, I know my punctuation is pretty rubbish. However, Cogito is right in that people should look into in-depth guides for punctuation, so they keep on learning. Since, from our birth, survival needs learning or adaptation. But, most importantly, since knowledge is power and power is control over destiny.

    Twinstar
     
  6. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    It is American English that capitalises after a colon and semi-colon. UK English does not require a capital letter, as it is part of the same sentence, just like you wouldn't capitalise after a comma.

    Personally, I like the way the two things after the colon are written. I think it adds to the rather bizarre thought...

    Twinstar - of course there is nothing wrong with breaking the rules of punctuation, but only if you are doing it deliberately. If you don't use punctuation just because you aren't good at it then it doesn't really have the same effect on the reader. A writer ought to know their tools in order to best decide whether or not to use them. Also, I wouldn't listen to everything your lecturers tell you ;)
     
  7. twinstargemini
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    twinstargemini Member

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    Actually, he believes in punctuation being the most important thing in the whole English language. Also, I agree with your viewpoint about breaking the rules deliberately, it's like schools rules, if you did it by accident, you would be forgiven, but on purpose, you will be punished.

    It's harsh, but you have to tough skinned though.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is indeed totally incorrect in International English i.e. English used anywhere other than the US, to put a capital letter after a colon.
     
  9. LightningBug
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    LightningBug New Member

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    What I learned (US) is that if the part after the colon is a complete sentence, then you would capitalize it. If it's a fragment, you would leave it lowercase (of course, unless the next word is a proper noun).
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    This sounds like German rules! Out of interest, is this something that has crept into the US because of the influence of other languages? Just intrigued, no offence meant.

    Oh, I should have said we put a capital letter if it's the start of a quotation or a proper name, of course.

    Please, British English users look at guides like the University of Sussex or Oxford's when you want help with punctuation. The Chicago manual, Word US English spell/grammar check etc is not for British English users. Again, no offence, but British usage is necessary to render British style and there's no use confusing yourself. It's like putting on a fake accent.
     
  11. twinstargemini
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    twinstargemini Member

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    Well, remember America is a new country, it was invaded, since it did not belong to us, by Germans, English, Spanish, French, apparently Chinese, Portgual and others. So, some of their rules would creep in to American Literature or English.
     

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