miles davis trumpet

Not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but did you notice that witty use of an appositive colon in my last post? You didn’t? Right then, here it is again:

Your intrepid blogger does not rest in his mission to provide you with the stimulus that means you will write better opening sentences for your articles: today I flicked through the opening sentences of two – count ‘em, two – Sunday Supplements to see how those paid good money to fill copy start their articles.

Apposition is very handily defined by Wikipedia as ‘a grammatical construction in which two elements … are placed side by side, with one element serving to define or modify the other.’

Like other snarks, wags and wisecrackers, I’ll sometimes use this with humorous intent. I don’t think that reading through magazines makes me intrepid, not really. This is an example of the mock-heroic. I’m not a hero, though: I’m sitting reading old magazines. The previous sentence, mind, that was an example of a non-ironic use of an appositive colon.

Here are some other examples, supercilious, mock-heroic or downright sarcastic:

The party started with a bang: I knocked Lisa’s vase over on the way in.

It wasn’t easy getting my homework done: I had to pay my brother twice the usual amount.

I was easily the most handsome person at the party: the other guests were generally pretty ugly.

Over to you…


Write an ironic, supercilious or mock-heroic sentence using a colon. Why not post it on the comments section? Wise guy, huh?


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