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Should I say “I only have one distinct memory from the movie, that of a scene where …”, or would it work without the that of? If it wouldn’t work without the that of, what if I replace the comma with a colon? Would it be ok then?

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'that' is a pronoun, that = memory. 'I have a memory of a scene...'. A colon would be inappropriate here. –  Mitch Jan 20 '13 at 22:15
    
Thanks. How about an em dash instead of the comma, would that work (i.e., would it allow me to leave out the "that of")? –  ertha Jan 20 '13 at 22:24
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It would work with or without the that of.

If the bit after the comma was an independent clause (it could be a sentence on its own), then a colon could be used.

You can also jump straight into the description with, e.g.:

I only have one distinct memory from the movie, Maggie Gyllenhaal turning to look over her shoulder with a perfect expression of shocked outrage stifled by uncertainty.

I only have one distinct memory from the movie: Maggie Gyllenhaal turns to look over her shoulder with a perfect expression of shocked outrage stifled by uncertainty.

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Can't vote up due to my low reputation, but thanks! –  ertha Jan 20 '13 at 22:59
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You might want to replace "I only have one" with "My only..."

My only distinct memory from the movie is Bingley's proposal to Elizabeth.

Otherwise, a colon is a good option:

I only have one distinct memory from the movie: a scene where...

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Thanks, I'll consider that, too, and see how it fits with the rest of the paragraph. (The colon is a typo, I assume?) –  ertha Jan 21 '13 at 1:00
    
@ertha Actually, I meant "colon," not semicolon. Sorry for the misleading typo. –  Alex Reidy Jan 23 '13 at 0:16
    
No problem, @Alex. Thanks for the clarification. –  ertha Jan 23 '13 at 4:30
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