Capitalization after a Dash and a Colon

Capitalize the first word after a colon only when it begins a complete sentence.

…This is what I want to know: What day did he arrive?
…This is what I want to know: the day he arrived.

…He provided the following data: The date was the 4th at a little after 5:00.
…He provided the following data: the 4th of May at a little after 5:00.

Capitalize the first word after a dash only when the word always has to be capped. (Do not cap for a complete sentence.)

…I was going to see him — it was Friday, June 3 — to ask that question.
…I was going to see him — I think it was Friday, June 3 — to ask that question.

…Were you intending to — was it your intention to complete this?
…Were you intending to — I want to know about your intention to complete this.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Comments 2

  1. Hi, Margie, now I am really confuse about the dash. The reason why is when there is a change of thought: for example, “He was walking — running to the store.” I thought is was double dash. This is how I have it entered in my dictionary when I hit my special command of my machine. HELP!! Thank you, Pat

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi, Pat.

      This is just a confusion of terminology, I think. In reporting, we use two hyphens to create one dash. The hyphen is the short mark. In printing, there is a long mark that can be used that we don’t have on a typewriter keyboard. What you have above is correct.

      Have a good day.

      Margie

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