Use a Colon Between Two Independent Clauses When the Second Clause Summarizes or Explains the First

Shirley Temple became a child star in movies before she learned how to read. So how did she learn her lines? Her mother read her the scripts of her movies at bedtime. In 1934, little Shirley won a miniature Oscar to recognize a major accomplishment: According to Hollywood, she had brought “more happiness to millions of children and millions of grownups than any child of her years in the history of the world.”

The parents of Sandra Bullock, star of Speed, loved opera. Her mother sang, and her father taught voice. When Sandra was eight years old, she made her debut on the operatic stage: She played a gypsy child. The part was non-singing and non-speaking, but richly rewarding—members of the audience threw chocolates to her.

Not every family is happy. While growing up, actor Corbin Bernsen did not have a really good relationship with his father, and at one point, during the process of getting a divorce, his mother was drinking way too much. In addition, Corbin was going through a process of teenage rebellion and blaming his parents for it. Corbin says, “I was a typical kid, getting high and acting crazy. And I said, ‘Well, Mom is this’ and ‘I do this because of that’ and ‘What do you expect?’” His father then taught him an important lesson. Corbin remembers, “My dad said, ‘You have a choice in life. You can be happy or you can be sad. But don’t blame anybody else other than yourself. If your life is going to be screwed up, don’t blame me or your mom.’” He decided to become an actor after seeing his mother on the stage in a production of The Miracle Worker, following which he thought, “Wow, that’s my mother up there, the crazy woman who makes my dinner. Look at what she’s doing!’” She also taught him an important lesson: “She said, ‘I don’t mind you following what I’m doing. You’ve seen the ups and downs. The only thing I demand of you is that you love and respect your craft. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing a commercial or a movie, just love it. Love all of it.’”

The great golf pro Walter Hagen ran into a problem on a Forth Worth, Texas, golf course when he was playing for a championship: The sun was getting in his eyes. Seeing a young caddy wearing a cap with a sun visor—exactly what he needed just then—Mr. Hagen asked the caddy for the loan of the cap. The caddy, Bryon Nelson, gladly performed a good deed by lending it to him for the afternoon, and Mr. Hagen won the championship with it. The young caddy then devoted himself to playing golf and emulating Mr. Hagen, and he did amazingly well in pro golf tournaments—even finishing in the money 113 consecutive times.

© 2015, David Bruce, All Rights Reserved

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