Punctuation: colon or dash?

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Nunty

Senior Member
Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
This sentence is from a feature interview to be published in a magazine:

Twelve contemplative communities: that is admirable; it is a spiritual force on which I rely and will rely very strongly.



Is my use of colon logical? Os it too "heavy" and should be replaced by a dash?

Thanks, as always. :)
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    This sentence is from a feature interview to be published in a magazine:

    Twelve contemplative communities: that is admirable; it is a spiritual force on which I rely and will rely very strongly.



    Is my use of colon logical? Os it too "heavy" and should be replaced by a dash?

    Thanks, as always. :)
    I'd go with dash, just because a colon quite so close to a semi-colon looks a bit unlikely. .... in fact do you really need the semi colon? Although you didn't ask this, perhaps a full stop would be better there? I suggest that since the next bit has two ideas in as well.
     
    Last edited:

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Erm ... I'm sorry to rain on your parade so early in these proceedings, Nunty, but when I read that sentence I get a short sharp stabbing pain in my appendix. No, not really, just kidding. But when I get to that is admirable, my first thought is What is admirable? Do you mean The existence of 12 contemplative communities is an admirable thing ... ?
    Maybe I'm just being over-picky while not answering the question.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Suzie_br, thank you. I like the two-sentence idea.

    Yes, ewie, that is exactly what the Very Important Person who was interviewed meant, but I have limited latitude in changing his Very Own Words. It is more like he is musing aloud, "Twelve contemplative communities... ahh... that is admirable..."

    I'm still open to ideas here...
     

    alacant

    Senior Member
    England, english
    Good morning, everyone,

    My suggestion.

    Twelve contemplative communities. Admirable! It is a spiritual force on which I rely and will rely very strongly.

    Does this help at all.

    Cheers, alacant
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I think the colon is used perfectly. I don't like the semi so much, coming so soon after the colon. Perhaps a new sentence beginning with "It is" would be better. Yes, there is a strong connection between the two statements, but sometimes it's necessary to begin a new sentence when there is such a connection. Is this a real interview? In that case, I think you should not change one word of it. You can play about with the jots and tittles though ;)

    The thing is, this is speech and speech doesn't necessarily lend itself to the rules of written punctuation. To change it so that it does, I would say, is a bigger error than any you can make with your choice of punctuation marks.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Hi Mole. Thanks for your reply and sorry for my delay in getting back. I like the new sentence idea and will probably go with it.

    This is indeed a "real interview", but it was held in French and I am translating it to English so there are certain necessary changes that I am obliged to make.

    Punctuation transcribed speech is a real challenge, as you point out. I find it even more so when, as here, it is not a question of transcript per se, but a print account of an interview. As such, it must find some sort of middle ground between the "feel" of the spoken word and written conventions. The question is always how to remain faithful to the speaker without causing undue hardship to the reader!
     

    una madre

    Senior Member
    Western Canada English
    This sentence is from a feature interview to be published in a magazine:

    Twelve contemplative communities: that is admirable; it is a spiritual force on which I rely and will rely very strongly.

    I'm going with ewie on this one!
    I'm really not quite sure what we're talking about.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Oh I get what he's saying, Sister/Madre ~ I just don't like the way he's saying it: I'd surely 'sentencify' it if it was my translation job. Surely you wouldn't end up excommunicated for a bit of 'free' translation .... would you?
     

    una madre

    Senior Member
    Western Canada English
    Do the twelve communities comprise one admirable spiritual force upon which you rely very strongly? Are these twelve different communities that are contemplating the same issues? Have they all come to the same conclusion? What is admirable - their contemplation of issues or their conclusions? Have they, by way of their collective contemplation, become a spiritual force?
    Sorry, I'm not meaning to be rude but I don't understand your original post.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Una madre, my original post is a sentence taken from an interview with a high-ranking Catholic prelate. I am translating the interview from French to English. They are "contemplative communities", which is a term that in the Catholic Church refers to a special kind of monk and nun. They contemplate God, not issues. The person who is speaking finds the very fact of the existence of twelve contemplative communities admirable and indicates that he does and will rely on the spiritual force inherit in such communities.

    I hope it is clearer now, and I didn't find you rude at all.
     
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