Hi all,

I've got a question regarding the syntax I should use for a dedication to my wife. This will be included in my PhD thesis dedication page. The dedication will have the following structure:

To my wife, Vanessa-

For X,
For Y,
For Z.

My question is, what's the correct synax for the above? I've got some ideas for X, Y and Z but I have not yet decided. I think Z will be "being there." Should there be a space between "To my wife, Vanessa-" and "For X"? Should there be a dash after the name or should it be a colon instead? Should X and Y be followed by a comma, a simicolon, or nothing at all (like in some poems)? Should I begin each line in uppercase?

Thanks heaps!
It should just be a normal, simply-phrased paragraph, Lawrence, not set up like a list. Yours is an academic thesis, not an avant garde novel. Take a look in some of the books around you for how their dedications are presented.
Thanks for your reply!

I want to give three reasons in the dedication, and I thought separating them would be best. It will look something like the following (I have not yet settled on the exact text):

To my wife, Vanessa-

For being the flicker of a candle in dark times,
For being ...,
For being there.

Maybe I can combine the above into the sentence

To my wife, Vanessa: For being the flicker of a candle in dark times; for being ...; and for being there.

but I feel this does not have the same impact. I don't mind the dedication being poetic (which is allowed according to http://www.medsci.usyd.edu.au/students/thesis-writing-08.pdf).

Thanks again!

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To my wife Vanessa, for being the flicker of a candle in dark times, for being an able amanuensis...for being there.
Great!! Is it OK to use those three dots, or did you put it in there for me to fill in with some text? If I can use those dots, what do they mean in a sentence? Should I include a comma after "wife" or just exclude it? Thanks for your help -- I've been wracking my brain for a while now :-)
The three dots are an ellipsis-- one way of leading up to a climax, punctuation-wise.

A comma after wife is unnecessary, and it slows the word flow. (And the comma after Vanessa is unnecessary too, but its absence speeds the flow too much. HOWEVER, a comma only after wife with none after Vanessa would be incorrect punctuation.)
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OK. One more question. I was thinking of putting a third reason in the dedication before the climax, e.g. (again, I haven't settled on the exact wording):

To my wife Vanessa, for being the flicker of a candle in dark times, for being an able amanuensis, for being the patient endurer . . . for being there.

Is it too much to have three reasons before the climax? Or does it lead to the climax better with three than two? I'd like to include the third reason, but I won't it if it messes up the dedication in any way.

I think that it will be fine– you can shorten it a bit ('flicker' is not really very complimentary here), and with three, I think 'being' is overdone; you can also put them in increasing 'spiritual' order:

To my wife Vanessa, for being an able amanuensis and a patient endurer, for being a candle flame in dark times...for being there.

And no spaces between the 3 dots (it is a single punctuation mark, an ellipsis) or on either end of them.

Just thought I'd type here that I've used fake names (although our names do start with "Va" and "La"), in case she Googles for our names and sees this before I submit.
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