Interested in Language
1. My favourite meals include meat, potatoes and gravy: a marriage of protein and starch.
2. My favourite meals include meat, potatoes, and gravy - a marriage of protein and starch.
Should I put a colon after 'gravy' (#1) or dash (#2)? Or are both correct?
Thank you very much
I see. Funny, I've always thought that the colon is one of the most formal marks out there (if not the most). Maybe I'm just partial because I've seen the colon more in formal letters.
Many people are so terrified of making the wrong choice that they try to avoid colons and semicolons altogether, but I’m afraid this just can’t be done. Formal writing requires their use, and it’s necessary to learn the correct patterns.
But I am pretty sure that dash is informal
Yes, I think I've heard that too.
English is changing. Punctuation marks are done away with in a lot of cases. Also, few people know much about punctuation, and they often punctuate wrongly.
Colons normally separate a statement from an explanation of the statement, or introduce the start of a list which has already been explained before the colon (strictly speaking it should then be followed by a dash, but who does that now....!).
In this case, what follows the statement is your opinion, not an explanation, not a list. Since this is an opinion, it is informal, therefore a dash would be ok, but I'd go for ....which in common usage simply indicates a train of thought.