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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Colon and semi-colon

    Is this sentence bad form?

    I donít know why this incident came to mind; it was far from the worst: when Joey died.... blah, blah, blah.

    It seems awkward to me to use the colon at the end of a sentence that already has a semi-colon but I have found no rule against it.



  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    No rule that I know prevents it, but I don't think I'd use a semi-colon even though it's technically correct. I'd use either a dash or an ellipse (leaning more to dash):

    I don’t know why this incident came to mind - it was far from the worst: when Joey died.... blah, blah, blah.

    I don’t know why this incident came to mind...it was far from the worst: when Joey died.... blah, blah, blah.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Hate posting links but this might help

    http://unilearning.uow.edu.au/writing/4c.html

  4. #4
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    There isn't a rule against using the colon where you have it. It's a matter of style. Your semi-colon use is perfect, but for me, I'd be inclined to write it:

    I donít know why this incident came to mind; it was far from the worst. When Joey died...

    Colons are just one of those things you should try to avoid using inside dialogue, internal or otherwise. Most people don't think or talk in colons. I just had the thought that maybe a biotechnical monster could use dialogue with a ton of colons.

    :::Hu:manDetec:ted m:ust:::::EAT

    Otherwise, colons are good preceeding lists of things, as in:

    The sirens howled a war cry; I laid out all my weapons: pulse grenades, flash canisters, a plasma whip, the rifle Grandpa gave me...

    The above is action, not dialog, so the colon works better. But as earlier said, there is no rule against how you wrote it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Yeah, period's better.

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