General Writing and Grammar Help/Titles, series, etc.


Which one is correct?
I watched three films: the lonely boy, the ghost and the bear.
I watched three films; he lonely boy, the ghost and the bear.

Sorry, Dan for confusing you with Paolo.

A. I watched three films: the lonely boy, the ghost and the bear.
B. I watched three films; the lonely boy, the ghost and the bear.

(I've rewritten B--I think you meant the, not he. )

B is wrong, as the colon is required to call attention to what follows. The semicolon is not appropriate.

Both are wrong because titles of films must be capitalized, as I've done below; and because they must be italicized, as I've also done below--or if italics are not available, they should be enclosed in quotes, as in my alternative below.

There is an issue also regarding your omission in both selections of a comma following ghost. The omission of the comma before the and or or in a series is quite common and is indeed sanctioned by some authorities. In both my opinion and that of The Chicago Manual of Style, however, it is incorrect.

Correct would be:

I watched three films: The Lonely Boy, The Ghost, and The Bear or
I watched three films: "The Lonely Boy," "The Ghost," and "The Bear"

*    *    *    *

Dan, I have considered this as one question despite its complexity because your examples are intended to express the same thought. However, it would be a lot simpler and easier if in the future you'd restrict your questions to one (1) example each. Then you can always follow up with a related example.  

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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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