“MARLEY WAS DEAD: TO BEGIN WITH.” I was pleased that Kathryn Schulz selected the colon in the first sentence of A CHRISTMAS CAROL as one of the 5 best punctuation marks in literature. That first sentence is: ““Marley was dead: to begin with.” I posted here that I think it is the best opening sentence in literature (and Annalisa and Nick agree). I praised the colon in my post as “inspired punctuation, the pause. The story is about to begin, and the story is to be about a new beginning.”

Kathryn Schulz says: “…it is less like an opening than like a train car immediately running into another train car….as written, this sentence is insane, or anyway destined to foment insanity in the grammatically prissy. It has death, a dangling participle….It is great.”

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