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7.25 The Colon, Between independent clauses

The colon may be used between two independent clauses not joined by a conjunction if the second clause explains, illustrates or enlarges upon the first. In such sentences a semicolon would also be correct, but less effective:

  • Put most simply, the colon looks forward or anticipates: it gives readers an extra push toward the next part of the sentence.
    —The Canadian Writer’s Handbook
  • We are now at the point when an awakening bitterness follows a night of intoxication: an ebb of retribution now follows in the wake of a flood-tide of railway construction.
    —Arthur Meighen

A colon may be used between two clauses in antithesis:

  • Man proposes: God disposes.

The work of the colon could have been done by a period or even a comma in the above example.