I'm wondering if sentence structures such as the following are a valid use of the colon:

I don't understand your second point: Is it not said that the sky is blue?

As you can see, I'm using the colon to elaborate upon the previous clause "I don't understand your second point".

If this isn't a valid use of the colon, then what would be considered a valid punctuation mark in this type of situation? Or is it the case that it is a valid use of the colon, but that there are better punctuation marks for this type of situation?

I would greatly appreciate it if people would please take the time to clarify this.

  • Maybe a book says a colon can introduce an elaboration, but the second part here does not introduce the other party's second point. It's your comment on that. I'd give you a pass if you chose the colon here deliberately. But doesn't a period -- or an em dash -- do the job? Maybe this is the rare time to use a ... semicolon. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 15:21
  • @YosefBaskin The second clause is elaborating on the first clause; that is, it elaborates as to the reason why I don't understand their second point. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 15:41
  • Although the use of the colon is becoming much rarer, one can still find recommendations from reasonable sources saying nothing more than 'A colon is used to introduce something that follows on reasonably from some previous context'. To introduce something to expand, explain, emphasise, ask for clarification .... Here, a follow-up question expanding on 'I don't understand your second point' is reasonable (if the second point made it so!), and the grammar (which is pretty flexible after a colon) is fine (an interrogative sentence), so the colon is acceptable. Again, if old-fashioned. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 16:27
  • @EdwinAshworth thanks for the clarification. What would be more suitable punctuation? Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 17:25
  • Here, two sentences would be fine. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 19:59


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