Python is readable

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Sun Mar 18 01:57:11 CET 2012

On Sat, 17 Mar 2012 21:54:40 +0100, Kiuhnm wrote:

> On 3/16/2012 21:04, Prasad, Ramit wrote:
>>> People spell your name Stephen, sometimes too. Thinking of changing
>>> it? Gore Vidal's quote has panache, a valid compensation for breaking
>> the usual rule. How many other uses on that page are similar?
>> He provided common examples and reference links. Seems like a pretty
>> reasonable way of trying to prove a point. If you don't like reference
>> links, what would convince you that the point was correct? I have not
>> seen any counter examples or counter references on your behalf...
> He's referring to this "rule":
> "A colon should not precede a list unless it follows a complete
> sentence; however, the colon is a style choice that some publications
> allow."

That is an invented prescriptivist rule and not based on English grammar 
as it actually is used by native English speakers. It is *bullshit*. Even 
the author of that page breaks it. Immediately following the above 
prohibition, she follows it with the sentence fragment:


and then a list -- exactly what she says you may not do.

People *do* precede lists by a colon following a sentence fragment. This 
is unremarkable English grammar, with only a tiny number of arse-plugged 
prescriptivists finding anything to complain about it, and even they 
break their own bullshit made-up so-called rule.

The vast majority of English speakers write things like:

    TO DO:
    - mow the lawn
    - wash the car
    - take kids to the zoo
    - write book on grammar

and there is nothing wrong with doing so.


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