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Punctuation Congo

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Dear Principal Mirumbi;

Please excuse Ajaja from school next week. He will be joining me on a tour of the Congo River. I am confident he will keep up with his school work, he has already written a schedule for studying during the trip.

Our plan is to make a film documentary about three natural wonders of the Congo; Boyoma Falls, Malebo Pool, and the great cataracts above Matadi. Ajaja has already come up with a name for the film. He calls it On the Congo, Adventures of the World-Renowned Naturalist Ajaja Olatunji. I am sure his classmates will enjoy viewing the film after we return.

Respectfully yours,

Babatunde Olatunji


- The Colon -

The colon is used to emphasize an introduction. It is often used when something is being introduced formally. We emphasize this formal nature by showing the first error in the opening paragraph:

    Dear Principal Mirumbi;

A colon should always be used after the salutation in a formal letter:

    Dear Principal Mirumbi:

Other formal introductions require the colon. One such construction is the formal appositive. The apposition places something side by side, as if for comparison:

    Ajaja dreamed of one thing: becoming a naturalist.

A refinement of the rule about using the colon to introduce an appositive is shown by the following error:

    After a particularly vivid dream Ajaja made his decision, namely: that he would become a world-renowned naturalist.

The colon comes before the second clause even when it begins with the expression namely or that is:

    After a particularly vivid dream Ajaja made his decision: namely, that he would become a world-renowned naturalist.


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