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Hi,

Do you think colon is okay in the following two sentences or it should be a dash instead or both are wrong?

1. But when it comes to racing, we know who is the best bet:horses.

2. We worry about all the things around us such as hot jobs, emerging fields, prestigious companies and so on but fail to look for the answer where it actually lies: inside us.

Thanks.

ATM
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Hi Atm,

Here is a good link that describes [url="http://www.sfu.ca/~gmccarro/Grammar/Dash.html "]Dashes and Colons[/url].
1. But when it comes to racing, we know who is the best bet:horses.

2. We worry about all the things around us such as hot jobs, emerging fields, prestigious companies and so on but fail to look for the answer where it actually lies: inside us.


In both your sentences, I'd use a dash.

Hope that helps.

MountainHiker
Hi MountainHiker,

Thanks for your reply.

My understanding is that a dash can be used in the following cases:

1. Abrupt break or interruption
2. To announce long appositive
3. To summarise

Do you agree that these are the only cases where a dash can be used? If yes, how would you explain using it in the two sentences? I mean, which of the three cases applies here?

Thanks.

ATM
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Hi Atm,

Here is another [url="http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/dash.htm"]link on dashes[/url] you might find useful. Here is another [url="http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/colon.htm"]link on colons[/url] that you might find useful.

With regard to your question, I would say it is 1. Abrupt break or interruption.

1. But when it comes to racing, we know who is the best bet--horses.

2. We worry about all the things around us such as hot jobs, emerging fields, prestigious companies and so on but fail to look for the answer where it actually lies--inside us.

To me, a dash is a bit more emphatic that a colon. You want to call attention to what lies beyond the dash. So in your two sentences, you have set up the sentences for this emphatic ending.

Here is a [url="http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~wricntr/documents/GP.html "]another link[/url] that discusses dashes giving more emphasis than colons.

I tend to think of colons as list generators or short punchy summary points. I tend to think of dashes as having more emphasis.

I hope that helps.

MountainHiker

Useful for my searches later on.
Keywords: dash, colon, emphasis, summary
[url="http://www.sfu.ca/~gmccarro/Grammar/Dash.html "]Previous link mentioned earlier[/url]: http://www.sfu.ca/~gmccarro/Grammar/Dash.html
Thanks, MountainHiker.

ATM
My pleasure ATM!
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Hello, ATM. Emotion: smile

The three cases you mentioned for the use of dashes are correct. Dashes are used similarly to commas, and commas wouldn't do in either sentence.
A colon is a much better choice in your examples.

Miriam
Hello Mariam,

Thanks!

ATM
A colon is usually used to introduce a series of things, or in between hours and minutes when telling time. What you have done in both your sentences is just said one thing.
You said:

1. But when it comes to racing, we know who the best bet is: horses.

You didn't list anything.
Therefore, a colon is not advisable. Is it completely wrong? I am not sure. But I am sure that a dash would be better. A dash doesn't have to be for a series of things, and is often just used for the effect of a long pause.

I walked to the cart---and sure enough, there he was.

Kind of like dramatic effect!

Often, a SEMIcolon can be used interchangeably with a dash. It joins two independent clauses similar to how a dash does. For example:

The game is at Greece--main event in Athens.

The game is at Greece; main event in Athens.

The semicolon, however, probably won't work with your sentences....this is because you are not joining two independent clauses. You are just putting a pause in the sentence to make the reading go "up and down" and less monotonous. So in this case, a dash is your best bet. Emotion: smile I hope I helped!
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