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Question
Hi.

A style guide offers the following example of how to use a colon for emphasis:

Rick does only one thing after work: sleeps.

But shouldn't it be "sleep," not "sleeps"? I see the word form as a noun, i.e. the activity "thing" is referring to, and not as a verb with the implied repeated subject, as in "Rick sleeps."

Or does it depend on how the meaning is interpreted?

1) The only thing Rick does after work is sleep.

2) Rick does only one thing after work: Rick sleeps. (But then is it really used for emphasis?)

Appreciate your insight.

Wendy

Answer
>>>Rick does only one thing after work: sleeps.

But shouldn't it be "sleep," not "sleeps"? I see the word form as a noun, i.e. the activity "thing" is referring to, and not as a verb with the implied repeated subject, as in "Rick sleeps."<<<

You are absolutely correct. It should be "sleep." (a noun: thing-- not a verb as in action)...

Usage of colons for emphasis:

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/609/02/

http://punctuationmadesimple.org/colon.html


http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/semi-colons-colons-and-dashes/

You can use colons or dashes for emphasis such as your example.

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