Punctuation step 2: let’s consider colons


Colon painted on a wall. Punctuation tutorial 2. Thomas Editing
Start a list:

Ready for the coding that joins thoughts and ideas? Used sparingly, these symbols can help you engage the emotions of your potential customers

A colon is code for ‘here’s what I mean’. You can use them to introduce a list, or at the beginning of reported speech. She said: ‘I’m getting thirsty.’

A semi-colon is subtle; it is code for ‘pause, and think’. It’s a full stop sitting on a comma, with a longer pause but not quite a stop.

(I’m watching my word count but you can find a full explanation of both, and some useful tests here).

Don’t be intimidated

Don’t feel you have to use them; these bits of codes can be a challenge to get right. Online, it can be better to use full stops to create short and clear sentences instead.

But don’t be intimidated by them either; remember they’ve added clarity, drama and emphasis to everything you read.

Red wine being poured into a glass. Thomas Editing blogBrackets (add a bit of useful information that isn’t essential to the meaning) or [explain something in the text].

Dashes are a handy, informal substitute – though avoid overdoing them – for semi-colons and brackets.

Let’s not forget the question mark, which I nearly did. ‘Where’s the Malbec?’

Step 3: why the apostrophe is your friend


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