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    #1

    colon or semicolon

    Dear all,

    This is a part of a passage in which how contrastively the amateur painter and the professional choose a subject is explained.

    "...He (the professinal painter) prefers scenery the amateur painter would reject as plain or uninteresting. The professional prefers this type of scenery because of the challenge it offers to his skills as a painter; to see beauty where it is not easy to see, to create order where the natural elements are confused, in short, to make art from nature."

    In the second sentence, a semicolon is placed between "his skills as a painter" and "to see beauty where it is not easy to see". In the context, it seems to me, "his skills as a painter" is paraphrased by "to see beauty where...to make art from nature" .

    If so, I think a colon (:), rather than a semicolon(;) is normally used. Is it okay to use a colon in the sentence above? If not, why not?

    Thank you!

    OP
    Last edited by optimistic pessimist; 04-Dec-2011 at 15:03.

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    #2

    Re: colon or semicolon

    I think a colon is a better choice here.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: colon or semicolon

    I think that a semicolon is not right. Between the two, the colon is the only correct choice - for the reason you've given.

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    #4

    Re: colon or semicolon

    SoothingDave, Raymott, thanks for your replies.

    Let me ask you one more thing. If the use of the semicolon is wrong, does it mean the use of a colon and a semicolon is sometimes confusing to an educated native spaker of English?

    Thank you!

    OP
    Last edited by optimistic pessimist; 14-Aug-2011 at 03:04.

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    #5

    Re: colon or semicolon

    That depends on how you define "educated." But, yes, it is not rare to find grammar mistakes even among the educated.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: colon or semicolon

    I think many native speaker are very confused about the semi-colon and every more don't understand how to use the colon.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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