Punctuating with Colons

I’ve decided to take a break from the comma odyssey and explore the Colon. After I eliminated all the bodily references, I found that colon usage isn’t as simple as I thought.
First, let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Colons are used in ratios, script dialogue, definitions, URLs, and separating hours, minutes and seconds.
Simple and straight forward, right?
Good. The next couple ones are easy too.
1) Colons are also used for salutation in a formal or business letter.
Correct: Dear Sir/Madam:
Correct: To Whom It May Concern:
Incorrect: Davy, my lad:
2) Colons are used to separate a title and subtitle.
Correct: Daughters of Destiny: Fiona’s London Diary
3) Colons are used after independent clauses when they are followed by lists.
Correct: Compelling characters need three things: goals, motivation, and conflict.
Incorrect: Compelling characters need: goals, motivation, and conflict.
Correct: We’ll need certain essentials for our camping trip: tent, sleeping bag, cookstove, and water.
Incorrect: The camping essentials are: tent, sleeping bag, cookstove, and water.
4) Colons are used with quotations when the quote adds information, but not always. A few sites have a word limit on comma versus colon usage. And complicating matters sometimes the quotation marks aren’t used in the punctuation. (This rule might be reserved for Literary works, not genre fiction.)
Colon usages also gets a little dicey when it capitalization. Most websites avoid the issue by simply stating pick one style and stick to it. Others cite this or that book and want you to capitalize complete statements after a colon.
Rules vary according to reference and website.
I’m going to stick with consistency and simplicity.

About Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal." All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house? If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at www.lindaandrews.net She’d love to hear from you.
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