Monday, June 22, 2009

gut-churner #1

This morning INTERN woke up in a panic from a nightmare that she had spent her entire advance on a single trip to COSTCO.
Although the dream itself has long since faded, INTERN has been feverish all morning, and feverishly drowning her anxiety in a bottle of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Now tell me, once and for all: when you put sentences after a colon, DO YOU CAPITALIZE?



  1. For God's sake, you do NOT capitalize your sentences after a colon!

    Did that rat-ass CMOS tell you to? Sometimes it can be such a bore!

  2. Oh dear.
    It's so easy to spend too much at Costco. Especially when they give you those yummy samples...

  3. No. Not unless the word following the colon is a proper noun.

  4. Chicago says capitalize IF the colon introduces two or more sentences, or introduces a speech in dialogue or an extract. 6.64

  5. No, I don't think you capitalize.

    Have you told us what your book's about?

    I am secretly in love with your blog.

  6. Hi there! Someone pointed me to your blog and I rather enjoy it :)

    You sure don't capitalize after a colon! I did a website job a few months ago, and the client, a former editor, had me go back and edit all of the copy to add capitals after every colon, which drove me crazy. So this post made me smile.

  7. If you're Under-capitalized, add some... Can't hurt. Spread things around! They look pretty to.

    Haste yee back ;-)

  8. MLA says no.

    A colon is used to join two independent clauses when the writer wants to emphasize the second clause. It can also be used after an independent clause to introduce a list, quotation, appositive, or something else relating to that independent clause.

    Then of course you have the colon for business greetings, the time-colon, and the Biblical colon.

    But that's MLA. And I've got five smackaroonies that it will kick Chicago's butt any day of the week, by gum!

    *runs a finger across the brim of English Major hat and harumphs*

  9. I don' that wrong??

  10. *hands Intern a cookie*

    Sweetie, deep breath. Stress is bad for you. So are colons apparently. Do you really need it?

  11. The Chicago Manual of Style is the name of a minor demon. Other, related dark forces: Turabian, MLA and APA. Good luck with that.

    (And no, I don't think you capitalize.)

  12. You'll need to clarify what you mean by 'sentences after a colon'. However, it appears that if you use it before a quote, or before an appositive clause, then yes.

    E.g., The inscription read: "Here lies one who died in vain."


    The issue is: Will we raise the cost price or increase stock levels?

    But, if you say,

    He was an excellent sportsman: hunting, boating and shooting were all he cared for.

    then you don't.

    That's how I read the rule, anyway...

  13. Sometimes. When I feel like it.

    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

  14. A.P. style says yes, if what follow a colon can stand on its own a complete sentence. So you don't capitalize in the case of, say "She only had one thing to lose: her mother's bottle of lemon spritzer." And you do if it's "She could only think about one thing: How dare Mr. Snoorfblatt critique her choice of tablecloths?"

    Unfortunately, since Chicago Manual of Style is different, that probably doesn't help a bit.

  15. Only if it's a quote that doesn't start mid-sentence.
    Even if it is a completely independant clause, it is still not capitalised unless it's a quotation.

    Thanks for blogging. I really need the laughs.

  16. I am a so called writer and I DO NOT KNOW

  17. I do NOT capitalize after a colon unless the phrase following the colon is a quote, or if the colon is used in a header.


    Her favorite food: Sushi.

    She suggested an idea about colons: "Just rewrite the whole damn sentence."

    In general, she didn't capitalize after a colon: it would just break up the rhythm of her sentence.

  18. I have had nightmares about Costco too! My latest dream involved agents thinly disguised as threshold guardians to a secret club that I finally gained entry to.
    Hope you have sweet literary dreams tonight.

  19. INTERN say:

    After reading colon comments, techy boyfriend offered to write program to randomize post-colon capitalization. Why do yourself what you can farm out to THE MACHINE!

  20. I never capitalize after a colon! AP Style doesn't like it. I must not make AP Style angry; I don't like it when it's angry.

  21. Talking about Costco is much more interesting than talking about colons.

    Next time you go, get the Food Should Taste Good multigrain chips and have them with the Sonoma chicken salad.