It is grammatically acceptable to say the following?

Don't forget, they could be tricking us.


If you regard the don't forget as an interjection (therefore not an integral part of the sentence), it is grammatical:

Don't forget, they could be tricking us.

Note that in order for it to be acceptable, the part after the comma must be a complete sentence by itself (they could be tricking us). In a sentence like Don't forget your book, in which your book is not a sentence by itself, there should never be a comma (*Don't forget, your book).

  • I don't think that's a valid use of a colon. Feasibly you could have an exclamation mark instead of a comma to give more emphasis to "Don't forget", but this seems to me a reasonable summary of correct use of the colon, and I don't see OP's sentence fitting any case there. – FumbleFingers Jan 26 '12 at 1:40
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    @FumbleFingers Try Rule 4 in that list. Though I still disagree with your understanding of colon usage, I took back the part about the colon, since I don't in fact consider it better than the comma. – Daniel Jan 26 '12 at 1:48
  • #4 is the nearest applicable, I agree - but I think in this sentence the comma does the job perfectly well. My rule 7 (which isn't there!) is don't use a colon if a comma will suffice. I see the #4 colon as a "weaker" version of a full stop - if you can't actually replace it with a full stop it's probably inappropriate. Anyway it's gone in your answer. – FumbleFingers Jan 26 '12 at 4:19

I'd prefer a colon here, e.g.:

Don't forget: They could be tricking us.

Perhaps an em-dash:

Don't forget — they could be tricking us.

A comma could be used here, as in the original example, but if feels loose.

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    Conventionally, an em dash has no leading or trailing space. It is the en dash which should have space around it. You could instead just write “dash”, as either dash will do. – MetaEd Jan 26 '12 at 16:06

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