Punctuation

Q. As you know, CMOS 6.61 says, “When a colon introduces two or more sentences . . . the first word following it is capitalized.” The two examples seem to suggest that the sentences following must comprise a series of some sort. Based on my understanding, I lowercased the first word following the colon in these two sentences:

I’ve learned at least one important thing through my bout with cancer and tragedy: everything happens for a reason. Even when I can’t see the reason, God can.

I love Ann’s poem because it expresses such an important truth: we’re not perfect. I’m not perfect by any means, and I’m not trying to put myself forward as some great role model.

My decision, however, was questioned and debated within our editorial team. Did I make the right call, per CMOS? Can you clarify what it means to “introduce” two or more sentences?

A. I think you’ve got the idea. There are bound to be gray areas where a person could interpret more than one sentence as “being introduced by” the colon. But if the material introduced by the colon clearly runs out at the end of the first sentence, that first sentence is lowercased.

She clung to her wishes: She wished the evil prince hadn’t eaten the golden egg. She wished he would leave the kingdom forever. And she wished someone would do her ironing.

She was furious: she wished the evil prince would leave the kingdom forever. But meanwhile, there wasn’t an egg left in the house and the laundry was waiting.