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I have recently been debating with several people on the usage of the colon.

They maintain that a colon can only be used when following a complete sentence, which has also been claimed by people on this forum (searching the forum found the following results: [url=http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/UseOfAColon/cxxn/Post.htm#14203 ]result 1[/url], [url=http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/PunctuationAndTheColon/mppb/Post.htm#63673 ]result 2[/url], [url=http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/CorrectUseOfTheColon/dbkr/Post.htm#15339 ]result 3[/url]).

However, none of the people who answered in those threads cited any references which backed up their claim, and I have not been able to find any myself. I have looked through the two books I have on the English Language (H W Fowler - Fowler's Modern English Usage, J A Kahn, The Right Word At The Right Time: A Guide to the Englsh Language and How to Use It), and have also tried googling for websites using the terms 'english colon use'. I have been unable to find a single source that states that a colon must follow a complete sentence.

Can anybody tell me of such a source?

[edit]p.s. Can anyone tell me why my bbcode got all screwed up?[/edit]
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I repaired this. Does it look right to you, Lenny Len?

They maintain that a colon can only be used when following a complete sentence, which has also been claimed by people on this forum (searching the forum found the following results:

see posts--

Use of a colon, Punctuation and the Colon, Correct use of the colon

However, none of the people who answered in those threads cited any references which backed up their claim, and I have not been able to find any myself. I have looked through the two books I have on the English Language (H W Fowler - Fowler's Modern English Usage, J A Kahn, The Right Word At The Right Time: A Guide to the Englsh Language and How to Use It), and have also tried googling for websites using the terms 'english colon use'. I have been unable to find a single source that states that a colon must follow a complete sentence.

Can anybody tell me of such a source?
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Hi,

First, I must admit that I'm too lazy to look at the extensive references you have provided! Instead, I'd just like to agree with your opinion.

In defence of my laziness, I'd like to say that I simply find it very odd to suggest that a colon can only be used when following a complete sentence. Surely a colon follows a clause?

I checked the entry for 'colon' in the Oxford Companion To The English Language' and it does not even use the word 'sentence'.

Best wishes, Clive
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Clive may be lazy, Emotion: wink, but he's still right!
DavkettDid you try these?

http://www.bridgew.edu/WritingStudio/WC/colon.htm

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_overvw.html

Thanks for taking the time to find those. Yes I had seen those sites. I had found the second one but wasn't sure if I should consider it to be authoratative as it cited no references. The first site is pretty much what I was looking for.
CliveHi,

In defence of my laziness, I'd like to say that I simply find it very odd to suggest that a colon can only be used when following a complete sentence. Surely a colon follows a clause?

This is a very good point. The person with whom I was discussing this kept using the term sentence, however I am sure he probably did mean clause.

I have one further question. I noticed that all the books used as references in the first link were American texts. The books that I consulted were British texts and made no mention at all of independant clauses.

So does anyone know if this is an AE vs BE issue?

p.s. Thank-you Davkett for fixing my original post.

p.p.s Aaargh! Why do my posts keep coming out garbled? They look fine in the preview (though in a different font and missing lots of white-space). For the first post, I used the BBCode specified in the Formatting Guide, and in this post I just used the code generated by the 'quote' button (which appeared to be html).