Colon

Opinions vary about the proper uses of the colon in punctuation.

As one of a series of stops ranging in strength from the comma to the full-stop, it has gone out of fashion with the " period " style of writing. Its main functions are now:

(a) Between two sentences in antithesis:

Man proposes: God disposes.

(b) To precede an explanation or particularisation, in the same way that the dash may be used; in the words of Fowler "to deliver the goods that have been invoiced in the preceding words":

News reaches a national paper from two sources: the news agencies and its own correspondents.

For the second purpose the dash is the colon's weaker relative. See DASH.

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