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 can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, usually the same day, based on 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 primarily on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

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.

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For many years a member of Mensa.

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