Commas in a series between coordinate adjectives Separate items in a series with commas. –Please bring with you to class a pencil, your notebook, and your textbook. Separate two adjectives that describe the same noun by using a comma. –The dog’s cold, wet nose felt gross on my leg.
Separate two independent clauses with coordinating conjunctions If a sentence contains two independent clauses, use a comma before the coordinating conjunction that separates the two independent clauses. –and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet –I plan to travel to Montgomery this weekend, and I will be attending a play at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. –No comma needed with short sentences –We can stop here or we can wait for a while.
Direct addresses, question tags, and letters –By the way, Sarah, you do have your book, don’t you? –Dear Samantha, –Love, –Sincerely,
Set off introductory phrases and clauses, antithetical phrases, and long prepositional phrases. Introductory: If you need tutoring, make an appointment. Mild Interjection: Well, I guess I can make an exception. Adjective clause: The bride, who is a chemist, looked lovely. Appositive phrase: The parade, the longest I’ve ever seen, featured twelve bands.
Set off introductory phrases and clauses, antithetical phrases, and long prepositional phrases. Adverbial clause: After we had eaten, I realized my wallet was in the car. Participial phrase: Laughing heartily, Milan quickly left the room. Prepositional phrase: At the buzzer, the ball slid through the hoop. Antithetical phrase: I will test your knowledge of the novel, not the movie, on Friday.
Titles, addresses, numbers, references 1640 Chartwell Avenue, Edina, Minnesota September 11, 1982 On January 2, 2004, Sarah was born in Montgomery, Alabama, to proud parents. Bob Riley, Governor, is serving his last term. January 1982 was a memorable year for Jason. (no comma needed if only month/year, month/day) Read Slaughterhouse-Five, pages 15–20. Perform a scene from Hamlet, Act II.
Semicolons and Colons
Semicolons Use semicolons to separate two independent clauses that are closely related in content. –You must study diligently tonight; your success depends on it. Use semicolons to separate items in a series that contain commas within the items in a series. –Today I need to go to the bank and make a deposit, open a savings account, and discuss my mortgage; go to the grocery store and pick up milk, bread, and eggs; and call the phone company to discuss my bill and add a new line.
Colons Colons can be used for many reasons, two of those being the following: –To set off a list –To separate a word or group of words from an independent clause in which something was left unanswered. To study effectively, I suggest that you rewrite the sample sentences leaving out one key ingredient: the punctuation.
Use a colon for precise time measurements –10:02 A.M. biblical chapter and verse references –John 3:16 business letter salutations. –Dear Ms. Delgado:
Hyphens and Dashes
Hyphens Hyphenate compound adjectives that come before the noun they modify. –well-intentioned parent Hyphenate compound words in which a vowel or consonant is repeated. –Re-elect Hyphenate compound words such as mother-in-law. Dates and page numbers – –Pages 17-45
Hyphenate words that begin with the prefix ex, self, great, half, all, quasi, etc. –Self-motivated Hyphenate words with the suffix elect or style. Do not hyphenate compound words beginning with an adverb ending in –ly –poorly made dress
Dashes Use dashes to set off explanatory material. –Why does Abigail behave the way that she does? Her motives – jealousy and vengeance - drive her to do the unthinkable. Use dashes to show an abrupt break in thought. –His girlfriend – although I don’t know why he likes her – won the concert tickets.
Ellipses, Slashes, and Apostrophes
If words are omitted at the end of a quoted sentence, use ellipsis marks followed by the necessary ending punctuation mark. –The regulation states, "All agencies must document overtime...." The original sentence read, The regulation states, "All agencies must document overtime or risk losing federal funds." Rule 1
Rule 2 Sometimes sentences are meant to trail off. Use ellipsis marks without any ending punctuation in this situation. Example "I thought that you might..."
Rule 3 If words are omitted within a quoted sentence, use ellipsis marks where you have left out the word(s). – "According to our records, Callan received... awards for best actress." Original According to our records, Callan received two Emmys and two Oscar awards for best actress."
Rule 4 If sentences are omitted between other sentences within a quotation, use ellipsis marks after the ending punctuation mark of the preceding sentence. – The regulation states, "Agencies may risk losing federal funds.... All agencies will be audited annually." NOTE: The first period has no space before it because it is the ending punctuation mark for the first sentence. After the ellipsis marks, one space follows before the next sentence.
Rule 5 If your quoted material begins with the middle of a sentence, use the ellipsis marks at the beginning of the quotation. –Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, said, "... our fathers brought forth... a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal.'" NOTE: The second set of ellipsis marks in the above example is used where words within the quoted sentence have been omitted. The original reads, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal.' "
Rule 6 When you omit one or more paragraphs within a long quotation, use ellipsis marks after the last punctuation mark that ends the preceding paragraph. All ellipses information was taken from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. e.asp
Separates successive divisions in an extended date: fiscal year 1998/99. Represents per: 35 km/hr, 1,800 ft./sec. Means or between the words and and or: Take water skis and/or fishing equipment when you visit the beach this summer.
Slashes Use slashes to separate lines of poetry. Leave a space before and after the slash to show when the line of poetry ends. –The opening of Robert Frost's poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” goes like this: “Whose woods these are / I think I know, / His house is in the village, though. / He will not see me stopping here / To watch his woods fill up with snow.”
Slashes Use slashes to show choice. –Be sure to use the right temperature scale (Fahrenheit/Centigrade). Use slashes in fractions or formulas. –1/2, ¾ All slash information taken from Fact Monster. style/slash-burn.html
Indicates the possessive case of singular and plural nouns, indefinite pronouns, and surnames combined with designations such as Jr., Sr., and II –my sister's husband, my three sisters' husbands, anyone's guess, They answer each other's phones, John Smith, Jr.'s car.
Apostrophes Indicates joint possession when used with the last of two or more nouns in a series. –Doe and Roe's report. Indicates individual possession or authorship when used with each of two or more nouns in a series –Smith's, Roe's, and Doe's reports.
Apostrophes Use an apostrophe to show possession. –With singular nouns not ending in s, add an apostrophe and s. –Examples: girl, girl's manuscript; student, student's ideas –With singular nouns ending in s, add an apostrophe and s. –Examples: Charles, Charles's book; hostess, hostess's menu
Apostrophes Use an apostrophe to show possession With plural nouns ending in s, add an apostrophe after the s. –girls, girls' manuscript; students, students' ideas With plural nouns not ending in s, add an apostrophe and s. –women, women's books; mice, mice's tails
Apostrophes Use an apostrophe and s to show the plural of a letter. Mind your p's and q's. Computers will be even more important in the late 1990's. Use an apostrophe and s to show the plural of a word referred to as a word. There are too many distracting like's and um's in her speech.
Apostrophes Use an apostrophe to show where a letter or number has been omitted. –To show that letters have been left out of contractions. can't, won't, I'll –To show that numbers have been left out of a date. the '70s, the '90s –All apostrophe information taken from Fact Monster –http://www.factmonster.com/cig/grammar- style/apostrophes.html
Parentheses and Brackets
Use parentheses to set off supplemental material. Punctuate within the parentheses only if the punctuation is part of the parenthetical expression. I saw Bill Cosby (he is my favorite comedian) last night. Use brackets to enclose information inserted by someone besides the original writer. The paper continues, “The company knows he [Watson] is impressed.”