General Writing and Grammar Help/punctuation

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Question
When should I use this punctuation?  A colon :

Answer
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

Expertise

I can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, based on the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.

Experience

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.

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

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

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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