Monday, December 9, 2013

Chryse Wymer and Colons

 (Don't miss the giveaway from Chryse Wymer, included below the guestpost.)


Thank you very much, Alison DeLuca, for the space to guest post my final installment on colons, my favorite punctuation mark.

It might seem strange that I have a favorite punctuation mark. However, colons, along with commas, are one of the most frequently misused punctuation marks. Authors seem to be slightly afraid of colons. One author told me that a high-school teacher advised her to never use colons. Bunk!

This month, I’ll be hopping along from blog to blog to share my knowledge on the nuts and bolts of great writing. I am a copy editor, proofreader, and author—published both traditionally and independently. I’m also raffling off Amazon gift cards to get you started on your editing bookshelves. You can contact me at, or, for more information, visit: ocdeditor.weebly At the previous site, I’ll also be keeping a list of the blogs I’ve visited and the subject matter I’ve shared. The Amazon giveaway starts December 1st and ends January 1st.

I would strongly urge you to view the first installment  regarding colons on Kriss Morton’s blog, The Cabin Goddess: It covers the first (and a frequently misunderstood) usage in detail. It’s also the usage that some fiction authors seem to avoid altogether.

Part two on colons can be found at:


This is the final installment on colons, so let’s get to it.

COLONS – Part Three

The first three usages can be found in the blogs named above.

Fourth, the colon can appear after the salutation in formal  correspondence: <Dear Ms. Dean:>

Finally, the colon separates elements such as a book’s title and subtitle. <WE ARE NOT ALONE: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media>, chapter and verse in Bible citation <Exodus 7:11>, hour and minute in time <7:22 PM>, and similar uses.

Four common Misuses:

1.     Don’t put a colon between a verb and what the verb refers to (object or complement). <She enjoys going here, there, and everywhere> (no colon after going).

2.     Don’t put a colon between a preposition* and its object <they all went inside for a cup of hot cocoa, their winter coats, and a scarf rare books, bone china, and etched glass> (no colon after for).

3.     Don’t put a colon after the conjunction that <he showed that everyone is beautiful>.

4.     Don’t put a colon after an introductory word or phrase such as for example, moreover, however, that said, including <several friends were there, including Sammy, James, and Ian> (no colon after including). However, a colon is often appropriate after a phrase that more formally announces a list (e.g., as follows, the following, including these)

Chryse Wymer

*Prepositions are a word or phrase that shows relationships of location, direction, means, agency, etc. between a noun and other words in the sentence. The prepositions object is usually a noun or pronoun. Often, prepositions show this location in the physical world, e.g.: <We went in the house>, <I went over the hill>, <They sat beside each other>.

Thank you for reading, and I welcome you to join me tomorrow on my blog:

I’m going to cover the top five mistakes I’ve seen as an editor.



Chryse Wymer is a freelance copy editor and proofreader whose main focus is on indie writers. Her clients have been well reviewed, and one was recently chosen as a top-five finalist in The Kindle Book Review's 2013 Best Indie Book Awards in his category: mystery/thriller. For some years, she has been particularly obsessed with William S. Burroughs’s writing, who happened to coin the term heavy metal ... her favorite music. You can contact her at, follow her on twitter: @ChryseWymer, or like her on Facebook:


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Johanna Garth said...

Great refresher on the appropriate use of colons...which we all need every now and then!

Alison DeLuca said...

Yes indeed - I learned a great deal from Chryse's post. So useful!

Mary Preston said...

I will never look at a colon the same way again.

steve weber said...

wow, never thought I would learn so much about the colon.