Would the Punctuation Police please assist me in using the colon properly?
Sometimes a colon is used to separate two related clauses. I hope that you don't mind a little recursion here. My question is this: Is it correct to capitalize the first letter of the second clause, as I have done in this sentence? Some writers are staunch 'capitalists', while others are 'anti-capitalists'. I'm slightly confused about this.
A colon is most commonly used before a list of items separated by commas. A colon can be used instead of a comma before a formal quotation within the customary pair of quotation marks. Furthermore, a colon can be used to introduce something conclusive at the sentence's end, so it's like a dash in those cases.
It is said that to capitilise or not is optional, I have always gone for small case , a colon isn't the end of a sentance, it isn't a full stop.
It is my understanding that if the part after the colon is a complete sentence you can do either, just as long as you are consistent throughout the entire piece. If it isn't a complete sentence than you do not capitalize it.
Specific style guides have different rules, so if your are writing something which needs to follow a style guide, you'll have to find their rule. Otherwise just be consistent.
I'd like to thank everyone who answered this question. I'm more confident about using colons now.
Though I suppose people would use a colon for just about anything, I will list the times when I use one:
- when I make a list of things
- listing things I make
- and a list making I
Yes, that right, when there is more then one thing to list in the subject matter of a sentence.
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