- They are a formal method of punctuation. They have rules.
- They must follow a complete sentence.
- Any information following the colon is complete, not partial.
- If you use the phrase "the following," or similar verbiage, a colon is required.
John wanted only one thing: to escape.
- A hyphen is not a dash.
- Dashes are created by typing two hyphens together (--).
- In MS Word, AutoFormat can be configured to insert a single dash when two hyphens are typed together.
- Commas make extra information look ordinary.
- Parenthesis make extra information look unassuming.
John only wanted one thing--to escape.
Bill said, "Look--I just want to say--would you let me talk!"
Bill--a successful, wealthy, and conceited judge--had been diagnosed with narcolepsy.
John--the hospital's best surgeon--was also its most eligible bachelor.
John, the hospital's best surgeon, was also its most eligible bachelor.
John (an eligible bachelor) was the hospital's best surgeon.
- Use a hyphen to join together words that form a single modifier that precede a noun.
- Use a hyphen when spelling the numbers twenty-one through ninety-nine.
- Use hyphens to separate a prefix that ends in the same vowel the root word begins with.
He was a well-respected professional.
As a professional, he was well respected.
You should re-experience Disney World at age fifty-two.