Colons: the new dash

I tend to liberally pepper my writing with the humble endash (-) or emdash (–) to break up clauses and insert injunctions not worthy of parenthesis or new sentences. But I’m apparently behind the times. It seems the humble colon is the punctuation I need in these situations, it has many functions that I have failed to accommodate:

1. The lister: “The meal requires three ingredients: milk, eggs, and flour.”

2. The talker: “He shouted at the sky: ‘I’m retired!’”

3. The natural extension: “She saw him for what he was: a prodigy.”

4. The juxtaposer: “His face was red: the guests were staring.”

And now:

A new colon is on the march. For now let’s call it the “jumper colon”.

For grammarians, it’s a dependent clause + colon + just about anything, incorporating any and all elements of the other four colons, yet differing crucially in that its pre-colon segment is always a dependent clause.

I love this quote:

“To that end, rules be damned, a new punctuator has been born.

My plan for today:

Totally random thought:

Best meal ever:

That’s the jumper colon. Check out Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace and you’ll find one.

Last night: soooo crazy!

Punctuation can go viral. Syntax is a meme.”

It’s very rare that I ask personal questions here but: how’s your colon use going?