Presentation on theme: "1 Punctuation rules Lessons for copyeditors By Jeff South VCU School of Mass Communications."— Presentation transcript:
1 Punctuation rules Lessons for copyeditors By Jeff South VCU School of Mass Communications
2 In general 4 Use punctuation to clarify meaning 4 Profuse punctuation weakens sentence structure 4 Newswriting uses less punctuation (commas, periods) than more formal writing
3 Periods 4 Often omitted from abbreviations 4 No periods in abbreviating names of organization names or gov’t. agencies CIA, FBI, VCU, UCLA 4 No periods for dead presidents! JFK, LBJ, FDR
4 Now you try! 4 National Aeronautics and Space Administration 4 NASA 4 James Madison University 4 JMU 4 John Fitzgerald Kennedy 4 JFK
5 Use periods to abbreviate... 4 Titles of people Gov., Dr., Mr., Mrs. Ms., Sen., Rep. 4 Academic degrees Ph.D., M.A., B.A. 4 Months Jan. 1; Sept. 28; Nov. 13; Dec Places Streets, state names when appropriate Follow the rules for abbreviations
6 Now you try! 4 Raleigh, North Carolina 4 Raleigh, N.C. 4 doctor of philosophy; medical degree 4 Ph.D.; M.D East Main Street E. Main St. 4 former Governor L. Douglas Wilder 4 former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder
7 Periods with quotes 4 Always go inside quotation marks 4 He said, “It was God’s will.” 4 “After five minutes,” she said, with a flick of her wrist, “it turned to mush.” 4 Will she run again? “No -- never.”
8 Periods with parentheses 4 If the parenthetical material is not a sentence, the period goes outside the parentheses He smiled (with his eyes). She studied every major language in Asia (except Mandarin Chinese). Everyone passed the test (well, almost everyone).
9 Periods with parentheses 4 If the parenthetical material is a sentence, the period goes inside the parentheses (He smiled with his eyes.) (She studied every major language in Asia except Mandarin Chinese.) (Everyone passed the test -- well, almost everyone.)
10 Now you try! 4 It happens in summer (and never in spring). 4 Correct. 4 He cried. (He had been crying a lot lately). 4 No: He cried. (He had been crying a lot lately.)
11 Periods as ellipsis 4 3 periods indicates omission of a word or words 4 Put a space on either side of “…” 4 Use four periods if an ellipsis ends the sentence He sighed. “I wish there was something I could do to turn back time ….” 4 Use ellipses rarely in Newswriting 4 Never use 2 in one quote; better to paraphrase
12 Copyedit 4 She said, “No, you’re out of order”. 4 No: She said, “No, you’re out of order.” 4 (The flag was at half-staff.) 4 Correct. 4 Bush said, “This war will be…fought in unconventional ways.” 4 Need spaces: Bush said, “This war will be … fought in unconventional ways.”
13 Commas 4 Use when linking 2 independent clauses with a conjunction, such as ‘and’: He will announce the budget cuts on Monday, and VCU is braced for the worst. Twenty-five inches of rain fell in five hours, and the resulting flood killed more than 200 Virginians near Charlottesville. 4 But don’t use if there’s 1 subject and a compound verb: She dropped the gun and surrendered.
14 Commas 4 Use when beginning a sentence with a clause, phrase, adverb -- usually anything except the subject: During Hurricane Camille, more than 200 people died in Virginia. If the drought continues, local governments may have to ration water. On Friday, VCU President Eugene Trani will address the Board of Visitors.
15 Commas 4 Omit comma before conjuction red, white and blue 4 Omit comma between closely related words 10 a.m. Saturday 11:30 p.m. EDT Jesse Jackson Jr. No commas before Jr., Sr., III
16 Commas 4 Commas go inside quotation marks “That’s right,” she said. “It ain’t over,” he said, “until the fat lady sings.”
17 Commas 4 Commas set off apposition (a word, phrase or clause used as explanation) Dr. Terry Oggel, the school’s former director, said … Jeff George, the Redskins’ quarterback,...
18 Commas 4 Omit comma between ‘name’ and ‘of …’ The prize was awarded to Will Jones of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Julie Rodriguez of Hopewell offered to organize the blood drive. The Smith family of Roanoke will represent Virginia at the national competition.
19 Commas 4 Usually used in > But not for years, ZIP codes, phone numbers or serial numbers In 1997, … She lives in ZIP code The serial number is
20 Commas 4 Must set off the source in a quotation if: The source comes within the sentence. Canada, he said, looks to England. The source comes at the end of the sentence. Canada looks to England, he said. It is a direct quote, capitalized and a sentence. He said, “Canada looks to England.” But not: He said Canada looks to England.
21 Copyedit 4 The lawyer said “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” 4 The lawyer said, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” 4 The lawyer said the jury should acquit his client. 4 Correct.
22 Copyedit 4 men, women, and children 4 No: men, women and children 4 Richard Petty, Jr. 4 No: Richard Petty Jr. 4 Bob Seger of Detroit will perform at Farm Aid. 4 Correct.
23 Copyedit 4 Because of the drought people can’t water their lawns. 4 No: Because of the drought, people can’t water their lawns. 4 The president will visit the Middle East, and then travel to Asia. 4 No: The president will visit the Middle East and then travel to Asia.
24 Copyedit 4 Texas A&M scored first, but the Hokies came storming back. 4 Correct. 4 The students might hold a candlelight vigil or they might do a walk-a-thon. 4 No: The students might hold a candlelight vigil, or they might do a walk-a-thon.
25 Colon 4 Indicate time 3:30 p.m.; 11:45 a.m. 4 To set up direct quotes, especially long direct quotes He said: “This is a day that will live in infamy. It shall not stand. We will hunt down these terrorists and bring them to justice.” He winked: “That’s not all, folks.”
26 Colon 4 To introduce a list The professor listed several reasons for using commas:... 4 Legal, religious or literary citations Matthew 14:22; Hamlet 1:3:28
27 Colon 4 Can be used to present an idea with a flourish -- to announce something. He learned the most important lesson of all: honesty. The governor has a bold idea: She will give every student a laptop computer. Note the capitalization: If a complete sentence follows the colon, capitalize it.
28 Semicolons 4 Use to link two independent clauses with no connecting words 4 Use with ‘however,’ ‘moreover,’ ‘therefore’ They couldn't make it to the summit; they were too tired. He wanted to protest; however, his friends told him to keep his mouth shut.
29 Semicolons 4 Set off a series of groupings that contain commas 4 Example: … 901 W. Main St., Richmond; 459 Elm Ave., Charlottesville; and 531 Oak Drive, Danville.
30 Dash 4 Use 2 hyphens, with space on either side 4 Sets off information, too VCU -- along with the University of Richmond -- will hold a memorial service Sunday. 4 Use sparingly 4 Often indicates surprise or a twist She later found her keys -- in the pocket of her jacket.
31 Hyphen 4 Joins two or more words functioning as an adjective 4 Often joins a prefix and a word, especially if: Capped word (anti-American) Meaning unclear (re-create) Like information (20-20 vision) 4 Check AP Stylebook
32 Now you try! 4 He was an ex Marine. 4 He was an ex-Marine. 4 She hit the jackpot. To the tune of $100 million. 4 She hit the jackpot -- to the tune of $100 million. 4 “I won’t leave” he said. 4 “I won’t leave,” he said.
33 Now you try! 4 She had just one friend; her cat. 4 No; use a dash or colon: She had just one friend -- her cat. She had just one friend: her cat. 4 The bombs started falling; soon, the city was evacuated. 4 Correct.
34 Quotation marks 4 Nicknames 4 Titles of books, movies, songs, poems (but not newspapers & magazines) 4 Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks 4 No comma after a quoted question: “Is that right?” she asked.
35 Now you try! 4 His book, “Jaws,” became a hit movie. 4 Correct. 4 The New York Times reported … 4 Correct. 4 The crowd sang The Star-Spangled Banner. 4 No: The crowd sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
36 Apostrophe 4 For possession VCU’s new policy; John’s bicycle 4 Contractions isn’t; can’t; won’t; it’s 4 To pluralize single letters (but not numbers or multiple letters) A’s; F’s; B’s But ABCs; PDQs; low 20s
37 Copyedit 4 Its your dog but its its foot. 4 It’s your dog but it’s its foot. 4 Pat’s F’s were in economics. 4 Correct. 4 She went from all Cs to all As. 4 She went from all C’s to all A’s. 4 The high will be in the low 70s. 4 Correct.