Tag Archive | punctuation

See Me After Class

Look, I try to be a nice curmudgeon, and I don’t normally get all outraged over people’s little mistakes. These things usually don’t really matter, in even the medium-size scheme of things, and besides, everyone is ignorant about something and everyone makes mistakes. But this, this chaps my hide. This was posted to Postsecret on Sunday, […]

Semicolon vs. Colon

You talked about separating independent clauses with semicolons, but when would you use a colon to separate independent clauses instead? Are the uses completely different, or does the author get a choice? –Stephen That’s an interesting question. When a semicolon joins two independent clauses, it’s basically saying, “Here are two equally important bits of information […]

What Has the Semicolon Done for Us Lately?

Considering that sentences can be separated with semicolons, what’s good will it do the piece of writing? Will it make the sentence sound more sophisticated as compared to using a comma and a coordinating conjunction? —Chad the Velociwritetor First, for those who don’t know, let me back up a couple steps. When you have a […]

Dash It All

Can you please break down dashes and hyphens? When do we use an em-dash? When do we use an en-dash? Do we put a space between the words on either side of a hyphen or not? Help! –Matthew Hoo boy! This is kind of a big topic, so I’m going to try to give you […]

What Should I Do With the Joneses’ Stuff?

Say you have a name that ends in S, like Millis. If Ms. Millis owns something, like a book, is it Ms. Millis’ book or Ms. Millis’s book? The short answer is “consult your style guide.” Style guides exist precisely to make a ruling on issues like this, where there’s more than one acceptable answer […]

What the…?!

When ending a sentence where you want to add a question mark and an exclamation mark at the end, is it “?!” or “!?”? I always use the latter because I feel it looks better, but I see the first version used most of the time. Is the question mark plus exclamation point even acceptable? […]

The Serial Comma

The tag line in the title banner has a comma after “writing.” I thought that last comma before “and” in a list is unnecessary unless “and” is used elsewhere in the list. For instance, I would use that last comma in a list that includes items like “oil and gas, cake and ice cream, and […]

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