Q. Hi, CMOS people. You answered a question for me a few days ago, about using a comma or a colon to introduce dialogue in a book project we are doing. We took your advice and are using commas. My friend, though, would still like to use a colon to introduce internal dialogue. (Michael thought: if I go home now, Mother will know I forgot something). Would that be OK, or should we stick to commas for everything? Thanks!!

A. Why is your friend so stuck on colons? Commas have been doing this work forever; they are quiet and unobtrusive and effective. Colons have other jobs. They are noisier and distracting. I would save the colons for when you really need them.