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Hi,

Is this following sentence grammatical:
The rule is: the word "it's" (with apostrophe) stands for "it is" or "it has".


I always believed that the stuff prior to the colon had to be complete sentence in its own right?

What say you?

MountainHiker
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I think you're right. Also, I would never say "it's" meaning "it has."
I tend to agree with you on both counts. But I think it is okay to use "it's" for "it has," though I would never do it.

MountainHiker
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Hello MountainHiker

I'm an English learner from Japan. Could you allow me to throw my two cents worth to your question?

I learned in my English class (really long long time ago) that you English speakers use semicolons (;) to connect two independent complete sentences. And colons (:) are used as an indicator to show items that additionally explain the preceding phrase, like the sentence you quoted. Do you think what I learned is wrong?

paco
Hi Guest! Maybe it'sbeen a while since you spoke English? Emotion: smile Emotion: smile
Not wrong, Paco. Your basic explanation is correct, except for 'phrase': it should be an independent clause to the left of the colon, although often the clause appears a bit incomplete without its explanation, definition, elucidation, or exemplification on the right.

The sentence in question is wrong (just) because of that: 'the rule is' has a subject and verb, but it does need a complement. That said, I am often guilty myself of similar formations, so I hope that this phrasal style is well on its way to legitimacy. The point is: I'd hate to get caught out.
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CalifJim,

It is actually quite common in speech to contract "it has" to "it's". You say that you don't do this, but I expect that you probably do. Examples:

It's been a long time coming.
Law and Order is a great show. It's been on TV for years.
It's been raining for days.
I think you mean MH, Dave. I'm not sure whether he means say it or write it, though...
Sorry -- MH it was.
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