Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dropping the Ball

When I was in high school, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world: my dad told me that I could paint my room whatever color I wanted. I think I chose a powder blue and black combination. As soon I started painting, I had a realization: This is a lot of work. I don’t want to do this anymore. Daaaaaaaad! 

I kind of had the same experience with Grammar Madness. I got two posts in and realized that to keep it up I was going to have to post more than I normally do, and, as it turns out, I can be quite blog lazy. 

When I quit after two posts, the question mark had beaten the exclamation point and the colon, but if I had had my way, the colon would have won the whole thing. There’s so much promise held in those two little vertical dots. 

I know that most people think a colon simply goes before a list. And, of course, a colon can go before a list, but it can’t go before just any old list. There has to be a complete sentence before the list. 

There are many things I have started and not finished: painting my room, Grammar Madness, and James Joyce’s Ulysses. 


I never finished painting my room, Grammar Madness, and James Joyce’s Ulysses.

But the colon does more than introduce lists. It’s like a drum roll. When I see it, I know that something is coming.

I have great news: 

(Oooh! What is it? What is it? I know I am about to find out because there’s a colon.)

I have great news: the sixth season of Mad Men started on Sunday.

Or how about this one:

I heard something funny about Jon Hamm, the star of Mad Men:

(What is it? What is it? I love him!)

I heard something funny about Jon Hamm, the star of Mad Men: his bulge was so distracting to his co-stars, he was asked to start wearing underwear.

(Unfortunately, he's covering it in the picture above.)

So that’s why I love the colon (and Jon Hamm) so much. 

What’s your favorite punctuation mark?


E.J. Wesley said...

Oh Lord, if I had a dime for every time I came up with this "awesome" blog idea and let it fizzle--well, I'd have a LOT of freaking dimes.

Sometimes our brains are bigger than our determination. ;)

Theresa Milstein said...

Sorry, as much as I love your blog, you haven't convinced me of the superiority of the colon over the question mark.

Quotation marks are pretty cool. I can quote and be sarcastic. So versatile.

Andrew Leon said...

I think the semi-colon is mine.

Stacy McKitrick said...

You do make the colon sound cool. Now I must check out this Jon Hamm! :)

J.L. Campbell said...

I don't use the colon much, but think I use the em dash a bit more than I should.

Shelly said...

Although I hate the way it is overused, I love the exclamation point. It has pizzazz.

the late phoenix said...

Jenny, is blog death the same as real death?

here's a quick recap: none of the Cinderellas won, no Wichita State, no FGCU, a red bird won, not a yellow bird, not Big Bird, but a cardinal.

still gotta go with the question mark, it forces participation and response: is blog death real death? you have to answer...

Genskie said...

Mine is exclamation point, specially if I am mad. lol

DWei said...

Probably the period. It's really under-appreciated.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I like the right parentheses. It is much classier than the left.

DiscConnected said...

I got lost somewhere along the way to you talking abiut the guy in Mad Men going commando...it got me wondering if that lady's got anything on under that dress...

Huntress said...

My love affair is with the em dash. We meet in quiet places and exchange doe-eyes and sweet words.

The relationship was great in the beginning but I'm thinking about moving on. What do you think?

CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
And critiques at UnicornBell

Theresa Milstein said...

This blog post has links you'd like: http://unicornbell.blogspot.com/2013/04/for-fun_12.html

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

I do love the way you've illustrated the use of the colon throughout this post; clever, engaging, smile-worthy. I spend my days editing work from contributors around the world; the colon is much overused and used incorrectly. Sad, really. Such a wonderful punctuation mark it is when used correctly. I'm not a big fan of the exclamation mark. Too much drama for me. The question mark? Meh. I want answers, not questions. I do love em dashes, though. I'd have to say it's a tie between em dashes and colons ... or perhaps the ellipsis?

traci's mixed bag said...

Things I love about Mad Men this season: Megan's styling, Don and Pete are still crazy, and the writing is as good as ever.