Python is readable

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Fri Mar 16 19:50:31 CET 2012


On Fri, 16 Mar 2012 17:53:24 +0000, Neil Cerutti wrote:

> On 2012-03-16, Steven D'Aprano <steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info>
> wrote:
>> Ah, perhaps you're talking about *prescriptivist* grammarians, who
>> insist on applying grammatical rules that exist only in their own
>> fevered imagination. Sorry, I was talking about the other sort, the
>> ones who apply the grammatical rules used by people in real life. You
>> know the ones: linguists. My mistake.
> 
> I am not pedantic. You are wrong.


Whether you like it or not, it simply is a fact that in English (I won't 
speak for other languages) people use colons without the first clause 
*necessarily* being a complete sentence. They write things like this:

    Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Also like these:

    Example: this is an example of a colon following a sentence fragment.

    Last update: Oct 4, 2007.

    Shopping list:
    - eggs
    - milk
    - cheese

They even use the reverse construction:

    Lists, quotations, explanations, examples: some of the things 
    which follow after a colon.

Check the use of colons here:

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-03-15/features/bal-the-raven-reviews-20120313_1_edgar-allan-poe-john-cusack-mystery-writer

I count at least ten colons on the page (including the title) and *not 
one of them* uses a complete sentence before the colon.

While it is common for the clause preceding the colon to be an 
independent clause (i.e. it would stand alone as a complete sentence) it 
is not required that it be so.


I think I'll end this with a quote from Gore Vidal:

"The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so."

http://grammar.about.com/od/c/g/colon.htm



-- 
Steven



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