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kottke.org posts about Conor Dillon

The jumper colon

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 14, 2010

Over at The Millions, Conor Dillon notes the increase in use of colon in contemporary journalism, including a new kind of colon called the jumper colon, “the Usain Bolt of literature”.

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.

For everyone else: its usefulness lies in that it lifts you up and into a sentence you never thought you’d be reading by giving you a compact little nugget of information prior to the colon and leaving you on the hook for whatever comes thereafter, often rambling on until the reader has exhausted his/her theoretical lung capacity and can continue to read no longer.

Bottom line: the 140 character limit of Twitter and general move towards concision in online writing is credited for the rise of the jumper colon.

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