I just need some clarification on whether the colon usage in this example is correct:

‘Desperation, destruction and despair: hope evaporated into fog.’

As a general rule, I always think of colons as stand-ins for, “that is to say,” therefore, the usage above kind of works, as the clause after the colon does offer some extra information on the landscape being described. Where I am struggling specifically, however, is whether the sentence before the colon needs to be complete (as this is simply just a list of abstract nouns).

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


The Chicago Manual of Style (mine is 13th ed) says this for Colon (section 5.74).

The colon is used to mark a discontinuity of grammatical construction greater than that indicated by the semicolon and less than that indicated by the period. It may thus be used to emphasize a sequence in thought between two clauses that form a single sentence or to separate one clause from a second clause that contains an illustration or amplification of the first.

Your usage seems correct according to the CMoS paragraph.

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