The full name of the movie often called "Dr. Strangelove" is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.

I find it odd that there is a colon after a conjunction like "or." Is that correct usage in a ordinary sentence (i.e., not a title)? If so, are there other examples? I understand that this is a movie title and titles aren't subject to the same rules as ordinary sentences. I'm just wondering if this usage is fine in a sentence.

  • Why should or be any exception? Any reasons you have in mind? The sentence could do with a simple comma as well, though.
    – Kris
    Jun 28, 2014 at 6:17
  • Colons are punctuation. Punctuation rules do not depend on what kind of word the mark follows or precedes, but rather where in the spoken sentence there is an audible stress or intonation that guides interpretation. Any punctuation rules that depend on grammar instead of sound are wrong. Plus, in titles and signs especially, punctuation is a matter of style, never gramamr. Jun 28, 2014 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


I think what you're seeing here is an artifact of an imperfect/sloppy attempt to compress the title and subtitle into a single line of text for the convenience of computer databases.

Dr. Strangelove
or: How I Learned 
To Stop Worrying
And Love the Bomb

The "or:" introduces a subtitle or alternate title, and the line break before it helps to delimit the two phrases.

If I was going to give that as a single line, I would either introduce a comma or parentheses:

Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb


Dr. Strangelove (or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb)

Note: One can quibble about whether the subtitle is or isn't actually part of "the full name" of the movie. It doesn't appear on all the posters I've seen for the film.

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