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?