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  1. #1
    Book Werm
    Guest

    colons: semicolons;

    Can I get away with just periods at the end of these sentences or must I use a colon and then semicolons?

    During the fall of 1986, when I had been a widow for about four years, three memorable events occurred. I became engaged to Earl Hanson, a man much older than me. The next day, the New York Mets won the World Series. Then, seventeen days later, I met Nick Cisighi. Within minutes, I knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.



  2. #2
    Ce Ce
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    Your personal style is your personal style, and punctuation is part of that.

    Which is not to say some copyeditor somewhere won't try to "fix" things for you.

    I'd use the colon and semicolons, myself, but yours will be the name on the book, so you should be the one to decide.

  3. #3
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    The way you have it is fine. The following is also fine:

    During the fall of 1986, when I had been a widow for about four years, three memorable events occurred: I became engaged to Earl Hanson, a man much older than me; the next day, the New York Mets won the World Series; and then, seventeen days later, I met Nick Cisighi. Within minutes, I knew we would spend the rest of our lives together.

  4. #4
    nancy drew
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    Evidently Kurt Vonnegut referred to semicolons as: “Transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.”

    Hell yes, I use 'em. I went to college, and I wanna get my money's worth.

  5. #5
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    They wouldn't exist and survive as a punctuation choice if they weren't useful.

  6. #6
    Cammy Stevens
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    I just ran the Flesch-kincaid assessment of what you wrote vs. what Gary wrote. Surprisingly, it comes out about a 5.8 grade level with yours and a 7 with his. I thought you might want to know, if grade level has any weight in how you are writing.

    I use colons more for lists or letters, as it makes things choppy in context for the reader.

    Only problem I see is that you say there are 3 things that happened around the time she was 4 yrs. a widow, but once we reach the thirst item, you say that one actually occured 17 yrs. later (which then could not have happened during the fall of 1986).

  7. #7
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    Cammie: days, 17 days.

  8. #8
    Cammy Stevens
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    Ah, ok. I liked the tone of your writing too. It flows nicely. I have a question that kind of stems from this question. Just how much is reasonable to expect an editor to 'fix' in a story?

  9. #9
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    An experienced editor will mark changes (without erasing the original) in keeping with basic grammar, punctuation, and spelling (with spelling usually being in accord with Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary) and the style preferences of the Chicago Manual of Style (for books in the humanities--which would include all fiction) and the publisher's in-house guidelines. The editor will make suggestions about word usage, consistencies, context, and checkable facts. It will be up to the author to rewrite as necessary, though, and they may accept/reject suggested changes within the publisher's tolerances (which is trying to put out a standardized product and has hired the editor to help make that happen).

  10. #10
    Book Werm
    Guest

    Re: colons: semicolons;

    Thank you Cammy. And that's interesting about readabiity. What number do you aim for as a minimum threshhold?

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