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Possible Duplicate:
Punctuation to introduce a list: comma vs. colon vs. nothing

Is this use of a colon incorrect?

I wrote an application whose features included: doing this, doing that, and doing something else.

If so, why? Is it because what precedes a colon must always be a complete sentence, or because—from Strunk & White—a colon should not separate a verb from its complement, or a preposition from its object? Or both?

Am I correct that the correct form would be simply

I wrote an application whose features included doing this, doing that, and doing something else.

Or even

I wrote an application that had many features: doing this, doing that, and doing something else.

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by MrHen, Alenanno, Mitch, Robusto, F'x Jun 13 '11 at 20:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Voting to close. Anyway, I don't know if there's a difference for languages, but I've always known that the colon is the thing to go with for a list, and @Robusto in that answer proves me right... – Alenanno Jun 13 '11 at 19:00
@MrHen I saw the question you posted - I don't think it's a duplicate; I think mine was a little more specific, dealing with a colon split between a verb and the rest of the predicate, not using a colon to split sentences – Adam Rackis Jun 13 '11 at 19:04
@Adam: It would probably be worth asking the question "Can a colon split a verb and the rest of the predicate?" with this list as an example. If you edited the title to explicitly point toward that side of the question this would probably survive the close votes. – MrHen Jun 13 '11 at 19:08
@MrHen - done, thank you – Adam Rackis Jun 13 '11 at 19:20
Ok, thank you @Alenanno I suppose the moral of the story is to use clearer question titles :) – Adam Rackis Jun 13 '11 at 19:30
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The person I learned this rule from said, "Never put a colon after a verb." I looked it up, and yes, this is because you do not want to separate the verb from the rest of the predicate. Yes, it is also true about a preposition and its object. The two alternate ways you provide are both acceptable. The first one has the connotation that you care most about communicating what it is that your application can do, while the second one hints to your reader that what's really important is that your application has many features because the sheer breadth of them that your application is able to provide makes you the absolute mac.

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It is probably a bit premature to accept this answer. @Andrew, if you can tell us where you looked it up that would probably help us out a bit. :) – MrHen Jun 13 '11 at 20:03
@MrHen @Andrew quite! – Joe Blow Jun 13 '11 at 20:21
I actually do not remember; it was several years ago. All I remember is seeing the rule. I likely found it on a website similar to this one... – Andrew Jun 13 '11 at 20:47
I can change the accept if someone puts up a better answer. I know Andrew personally, and I'm confident he'd get over it quickly :) – Adam Rackis Jun 13 '11 at 20:54

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