General Writing and Grammar Help/punctuation


When should I use this punctuation?  A colon :

Thanks, Dan, for your question.

I'll give you a general rule, but it may frankly be hard to correctly rely only on the rule. Therefore, feel free to ask one or more questions concerning the application of the rule in particular instances, which I'll answer in each case with my best explanation of why a colon may (or may not) be appropriate.

A colon in general is used to call attention to what follows. It can often take the place of a comma, a period, a dash, or a semicolon.  

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Richard Johnson


I specialize in grammar. I can however answer any question except homework questions--usually the same day--concerning English grammar, usage, or (non-fiction) writing style, on the basis of the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely largely on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style supplemented, where appropriate, by Long, The New College Grammar.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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