Figure Name colon
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Sherry (1550) 57 ("colon," "membrum"); Ad Herennium 294
Earliest Source None
Synonyms membrum, membrum orationis, clause
Etymology Gk. “clause”
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Syntactic

1. Roughly equivalent to "clause" in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second colon (or membrum) or with two others (forming a tricolon). When cola (or membra) are of equal length, they form isocolon. Colon or membrum is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the slower speed of concatenated membra to the quicker speed of words joined together without conjunction (articulus). (Silva Rhetoricae)
2. The name given to a sentence member, brief and complete, which does not express the entire thought, but is in turn supplemented by another colon. (Ad Herennium)


1. (1) You have not considered the well-being of the country, (2) nor have you seen to the welfare of your friends, (3) nor have you resisted your enemies. (Silva Rhetoricae)
2. "On the one hand you were helping your enemy." (Ad Herennium)
2. "And on the other you were hurting
your friend." (Ad Herennium)
2. "You were helping your enemy, you were hurting your friend, and you were not consulting your own best interests." (Ad Herennium)
2. "You have not consulted the welfare of the republic, nor have you helped your friends, nor have you resisted your enemies." (Ad Herennium)

Kind Of
Part Of
Related Figures isocolon, tricolon
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ashwini Namasivayam
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No