The Reid/Limbaugh Smear Letter: just between friends

American English has its rules. Among the conventions which should always be kept in mind are those regarding use of the colon (the punctuation mark, not the lower portion of the intestinal tract). It is useful and has been around for sometime.  The Greeks used it and the Romans and then the early Christians picked up the habit, and the uses are, well, rather specific:

  • syntactical-deductive: introduces the logical consequence, or effect, of a fact stated before
  • syntactical-descriptive: introduces a description; in particular, explicits the elements of a set
  • appositive: introduces a sentence with the role of apposition with respect to the previous one
  • segmental: introduces a direct speech, in combination with quotation marks and dashes.
Finally, in writing American English, especially a business letter, the colon is used right after the greeting.

For example:  Dear Mr. Mays: 

In a business letter it's always a colon, never a comma.   So, when the Reid/Limbaugh Smear Letter was opened, someone should have known something was up, because right after Dear Mr. Mays--there's a comma, and a comma is only used between friends.

Who knew? Could it be that Reid lured his colleagues into the scheme as a way of helping his secret friend Rush makes his case that the Democrats are trying to silence their critics?