[Python-ideas] Making colons optional?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Sun Feb 8 09:21:59 CET 2009

Riobard Zhan writes:

 > Forgive me if I do not fully understand your point,

You don't.

 > but it appears to me that you conclude semicolons are optional
 > because they are redundant.

It appears to me that you're responding to something other than what I
wrote.  I wrote nothing about why semicolons are optional, only about
why I believe they are redundant.

 > I think the conclusion is precisely the same for colons.

My point was precisely that two syntaxes are appropriate balance with
two semantics, but we have three syntax elements, so one is redundant.
If you claim that is an argument for symmetry in treatment of colons
and semicolons, I guess you are of the school that 3 - 1 = 1 for
sufficiently large values of 1?  But no, my point is that we can get
rid of one but not both, assuming that syntax should reflect semantics
to this extent.  And it's pretty obvious which one to get rid of!

You pretty clearly disagree with that principle, but I think it's an
important aspect of what makes Python attractive to me: syntactic
units and dividers do correspond to semantic units, according to my

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