Fill-in-the- blank practice 1. Noun 2. Pronoun 3. Verb 4. Adjective 5. Adverb 6. Conjunction a) Coordinating conjunction b) Dependent conjunction 7. Preposition a) Prepositional phrase 8. Interjection A 1. names a person, place, thing, or idea. Ex. Mary, nurse, chair A 2. substitutes for a noun. Ex. he, she, it A 3. expresses action or being. Ex. sleep, read, be, am, have, has An 4. modifies—tells something about—a noun or pronoun. There are 4 kinds: pointing, descriptive, articles, limiting. Ex. cheap, blue, the, an, sad, several An 5. modifies—tells something about—a verb, an adjective, or an adverb. Most of these end with ly. Ex. slow(ly), very, quickly, rather A 6. joins—or connects—two words or groups of words. FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) are 6. a). A 6. b) precedes a word group made up of a noun or pronoun plus a verb and may either begin a sentence or join parts of a sentence. Ex. however, because, therefore, when A 7. introduces a prepositional phrase. A 7. a) begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun that is the object of the preposition. Describing words may come between the preposition and its object. A verb cannot be part of a prepositional phrase. Ex. in, from, to, during An 8. is expressive words or phrases usually followed by an exclamation mark. Ex. Wow! Ouch! Yikes!
How do you write a complete sentence? 3 characteristics: 1.Identity—the subject (noun or pronoun)—tells who or what a sentence is about 2.Action—the verb—doing, having, being, helping—tells what the subject does, is, or has 3.Independence—the ability to stand alone as a complete thought
When Sentences Go Wrong: Fragments an incomplete word group beginning with a capital letter and ending with a period Ex. When she reads at the library. How to Recognize One look for a word group without a subject that begins with a capital letter and ends with a period Ex. While walking to the library. (Who is walking to the library?) How to Correct One add an independent clause before or after the dependent clause Ex. Since she is studying for long hours, she will do well on the exam. avoid using them in most business writing, unless writing informally
Comma Splice Run-on occurs when you join two or more independent clauses with a comma but without a coordinating conjunction (fanboys) Ex. Justin Bieber is very popular in the music industry, he is loved by many young teenage girls. occurs when the writer goes on and on and doesn’t insert a period or a connecting word where needed Ex. Justin Bieber is very popular in the music industry he is loved by many young teenage girls. Other Common Types of Sentence Errors
Correcting Comma Splices and Run-ons separate independent clauses with a period and capital letter (this will result in two sentences) Ex. Make sure you are on time for appointments. Don’t be late. connect closely related independent clauses with a semicolon Ex. Make sure you are on time for appointments; don’t be late. connect with a comma and coordinating conjunction (fanboys) Ex. Make sure you are on time for appointments, so don’t be late. Using Transitional Words and Phrases ex. for example, furthermore, however, in addition, therefore when a transitional word or phrase connects independent clauses, insert a semicolon or a period—not a comma—before the transition (a comma would result in a comma splice) Ex. I would like to help you study for the final; however, I have to pick up my little brother from school. Ex. I would like to help you study for the final. However, I have to pick up my little brother from school. use commas before and after a transitional word that does not connect independent clauses Ex. This group, however, is unable to see the point of this activity.
FORMING PLURALS OF NOUNS EXCEPTIONS TO S AND ES NOUNS ENDING IN Y: IF A VOWEL (A, E, I, O, U) PRECEDES Y, ADD S (EX. VALLEYS) IF A CONSONANT PRECEDES Y, CHANGE THE Y TO I AND ADD ES (EX. INDUSTRIES) NOUNS ENDING IN O: IF A VOWEL PRECEDES THE O, ADD S (EX. RADIOS) NOUNS ENDING IN F: IF A WORD ENDS WITH FF, ADD S (EX. REBUFFS, LIVES) Mastering Nouns—Plurals and Capitals
Pluralizing Irregular Nouns and Proper Nouns Irregular Noun Plurals (man men, woman women, mouse mice, tooth teeth, child children, foot feet) some nouns ending in s are singular or plural depending on the meaning (ex. politics, mathematics) Ex. The politics of last year have been complicated. Ex. Politics is my favorite subject. Some nouns ending in s are always singular, while others are always plural (always singular news, aeronautics; always plural scissors, proceeds) Ex. The news is not good. Ex. My scissors have been stolen. Plurals of Proper Nouns to make a proper noun plural, add s or es never use an apostrophe to form the plural of a proper name Ex. The Grossets are listed in the book.
Capitalizing Proper Nouns proper noun: a noun beginning with a capital letter common noun: noun that does not begin with a capital capitalize official titles used directly before a person’s name or used in “direct address” Ex. President George W. Bush do not capitalize an official title when it is used as a general term of description Ex. Sam Fields was elected mayor of Springfield in 1981. capitalize titles written after the name as part of the person’s official identification Ex. Mr. Jerry Savant, Director of Public Relations capitalize a family title when used as part of the name or instead of the name Ex. I attended Aunt Marion’s 50 th birthday party downtown. do not capitalize if the family title is not being used as part of the name Ex. I asked my Uncle Simon about his childhood. vs. I asked my uncle about his childhood. words like company, college, and association are usually capitalized only when used with the name of the organization Ex. Grande Prairie Regional College is a short drive from here. vs. The college is a short drive from here. capitalize the official name of a department or a committee Ex. Write a proposal to the Advertising Department. capitalize words like town, city, state, and county when they are part of the official name or if a governing body uses the geographic term officially; otherwise do not capitalize them Ex. Mayor Godfrey said the City of Los Angeles would be experiencing some severe weather soon. vs. The city of Los Angeles is really fun to visit. capitalize specific geographic regions with compass point names; do not capitalize directions or general locations Ex. They live in the West. vs. Drive two miles east on 31 st Street. use lowercase letters for the names of seasons Ex. The store will remain open for an extra day this winter. always capitalize names of languages; do not capitalize names of courses unless they are languages or official course names Ex. Sophie is studying accounting and French this semester and will be taking a psychology course next semester. races named by color begin with lowercase letters, but sociological names of races and ethnic groups are capitalized; religions are also capitalized Ex. white/Caucasian; black/African American
TO FORM THE POSSESSIVE OF NOUNS, USE AN APOSTROPHE (‘) AND AN S. DO NOT USE AN APOSTROPHE IN PLURAL NOUNS THAT ARE NOT POSSESSIVE. POSSESSIVE NOUNS: SHOW THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ONE NOUN AND ANOTHER NOUN A POSSESSIVE NOUN CAN REPLACE A PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE Ex. Alex’s brother is very talented. [brother of Alex] TO FORM POSSESSIVES OF REGULAR NOUNS, ADD AN APOSTROPHE BEFORE THE S IF THE NOUN IS SINGULAR AND AFTER THE S IF THE NOUN IS PLURAL Ex. Toronto’s weather is colder than I expected. Ex. The students’ new uniforms are on the agenda for discussion. Mastering Nouns—Possessives
EXCEPTION: if adding ‘s to the singular noun makes the word hard to say, then add only the apostrophe Ex. Mrs. Menzies’ office is upstairs. Compound Singular Nouns all words, whether individual words or compound nouns, form possessives at the end, not somewhere in the middle Ex. My sister-in-law’s attitude frightens me. Plural Nouns Ending in s add only an apostrophe to make a plural noun that ends in s possessive Ex. The students’ voices were very loud. Plural Nouns that Don’t End in s if a plural possessive noun does not end in s, add ‘s to make it possessive Ex. Women’s jeans are very expensive. Compound Plural Possessives some compound words become plural by adding s to the first word—like brothers-in-law; this plural word does not end in s but in w Ex. My sisters-in-law’s fashion choices amaze all of us.
A WORD THAT SUBSTITUTES FOR A NOUN, IT REFERS TO SOMEONE OR SOMETHING PREVIOUSLY NAMED BY A NOUN Pronouns
Types of Pronouns 3 types: personal pronouns, reflexive pronouns, and indefinite pronouns 1. Personal Pronouns: 3 types 1. Subjective case: when a pronoun is used as the subject of a sentence, who/what a sentence is about Ex. She missed the bus for school. They voted on Thursday. 2. Objective case: when a pronoun is used as an object of a verb or a preposition Ex. My boss took me out to lunch. Bill confronted them about bullying Joey. 3. Possessive case: when a pronoun shows possession (ownership) Ex. That ring belongs to her. Bobby asked if Erica could join their group.
Pronoun Reference Chart PERSONAL PRONOUNS SINGULARPLURAL PersonSubjectiveObjectivePossessiveSubjectiveObjectivePossessive First personImemy, mineweusour, ours Second person you your, yoursyou your, yours Third personhe, she, it, who him, her, it, whom whosewho, whoever whom, whomever whose 2. Reflexive Pronouns: end in self/selves First person—myself, ourselves Second person—yourself, yourselves Third person—himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselves Ex. Remove yourself from the situation. I told myself I wouldn’t cry. 3. Indefinite Pronouns: refer to nonspecific people or things, possessive form is shown by adding ‘s Every(one/body/thing), any(one/body/thing), no (one/body/thing), some(one/body/thing) Some, several, both, few, any, one, all (when not followed by a noun) Ex. Someone left their jacket on the bus. Everybody needs somebody sometime. No one’s friend stood up for them.
Imagine He or Him Imagine a Statement Imagine replacing who or whom with he or him (ignore whether the person is male or female). If he fits, use who or whoever; if him fits, use whom or whomever. Ex. Mr. Perry is the person who gave me the gift. [He gave me the gift.] Ex. Assign the chores to whomever you want. [Assign the chores to him.] If the sentence is a question, imagine it as a statement before making the who/whom choice. Ex. Whom are you taking to the prom? [I am taking him to the prom.] Who and Whom
Singular Plural each, every, either, neither, everyone, someone, anyone, no one, one, everybody, nobody, somebody, anybody Ex. Everyone is attending the meeting this morning. his, her, or its—not the plural their—is used for substitution Ex. Each building has its own sense of charm. all, any, both, few, more, most, none, some Ex. Most have left the country. Pronoun Gender and Number when both sexes are represented, avoid the shortcut of using only male gender—his, he, or him instead, say him or her also, nouns and pronouns should agree in number Ex. Each staff member has his or her duties to fulfill. OR Ex. Staff members have their duties to fulfill. OR Ex. Each staff member has a duty to fulfill. Indefinite Pronouns In-Depth refer to nonspecific persons or things
Agreements and Complements Pronouns Referring to Collective Nouns audience, class, committee, congregation, crowd, family, group, jury, navy, squad, staff, team collective nouns name groups of people, animals, or things and when a pronoun replaces a collective noun, it must agree in number use a singular pronoun—it, its, itself—to substitute for a collective noun if the members of the group act as one (a single unit) Ex. The crowd announced its message. OR The crowd announced the message. use a singular pronoun to substitute for names of organizations Ex. Safeway opens its doors at 8 a.m. use a plural pronoun to substitute for a plural noun—juries, companies, colleges, classes, teams Ex. The teams announced their defeat.
Verbs: Where the Action is The Basics: 1. Every sentence must have at least one verb. Some verbs are single words. Others consist of two or more: one or more helping verbs and a main verb. Ex. Jane ran across the field. [action verb] Ex. Jane was in the kitchen. [being verb] Ex. The boy should have studied harder. [should and have = helping verbs; studied = action verb] 2. Infinitives = basic forms of verbs preceded by to. Do not confuse an infinite with the verb; the verb is elsewhere in the sentence. Ex. The manager plans to fire the new girl. [subject = manager; verb = plans] 3. Choosing a verb form depends on tense (time), number, and person. Tense past, present, or future? Number singular or plural subject? Person 1 st person, 2 nd person, or 3 rd person subject? an action or state of being
Verb Tenses 1. Past Past participle 2. Present Present participle 3. Future something that has already happened Ex. I went to the gym. something that has already happened and will continue in the future Ex. I have worked on this project for days. something that is happening now Ex. I walk to school every day. something that is happening now and will continue in the future Ex. I am shoveling snow until midnight. something that is going to happen Ex. Sally will work on Friday.
Regular Irregular changes form by adding s, ed, or ing to the basic form Ex. He walked down the street. Ex. The cat is scratching the post. when a sentence has two or more verbs, generally express them in the same tense Ex. I am working on this project and drinking water. for a general truth, always use the present tense Ex. When Mr. Smith told us that Tokyo is smaller than New York, he was wrong. does not follow regular verb rules when changing tense Ex. I wore my favorite sweater today. Ex. She has broken her dish. Verb Forms Sentences with Two or More Verbs
Identifying Subjects and Verbs every sentence has at least one independent clause (a group of words that includes a subject and verb) and communicates a complete thought verb = action or being word subject = noun or pronoun (tells who or what is doing or being) to find a subject, first find the verb then ask “who” or “what” before the verb, and the answer is the subject Ex. Vicky watches Oprah every day. [Vicky = subject; watches = verb] sometimes the subject will look like a verb when it names an activity Ex. Jogging is one of my favorite activities. [it is actually a noun (naming an activity)] Ex. To laugh would be rude. [actually a noun] the understood you may be the subject of a sentence that gives a command or makes a polite request Ex. Please email me by Wednesday.
Subject and Verb Agreement a subject and its verb must agree—if the subject is singular, then use a singular verb; if it is plural, use the plural verb form Singular Subject Ex. She jogs for an hour every day. Ex. You are the loser of the race. Compound Subject Joined by or/nor make the verb agree with the noun or pronoun following the or/nor Ex. Either Jennifer or I am cleaning the house. Joined by and the subject is plural and therefore requires the verb form without s Ex. A resume and a cover letter are needed from you. Indefinite Pronouns both, many, several, few—use the verb form without s Ex. Few have been selected. if each, every, many, a, an, one, either, neither, another, or a pronoun ending with one, body, or thing precedes a subject, it is singular and requires the s verb Ex. Each parent and child needs to get on that boat. Separating Words when choosing a verb form, ignore all words, phrases, or clauses separating a subject and its verb Ex. The box of crayons is on the desk. The Word Number singular if the precedes it; plural if a precedes it Ex. The number of shops on this street is amazing. Ex. A number of books have been written by that professor.
Collective Noun Agreement ex. club, herd, staff, management, family, class, faculty, company, committee, crowd, jury, and names of organizations if a collective noun acting as a single unit is a subject, use a singular verb Ex. Walmart has thousands of employees. if the members of a collective noun act as separate individuals or disagree, use a plural verb Ex. The staff disagree about the new company policy. [if members disagree, they are not acting as a unit]
ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS ARE “MODIFIERS”; THEY TELL ABOUT, DESCRIBE, TELL HOW MANY, OR ADD SPECIAL MEANING TO OTHER WORDS ADJECTIVES MODIFY NOUNS AND PRONOUNS 4 types: pointing, describing, and limiting adjectives, and articles ADVERBS MODIFY VERBS, ADJECTIVES, AND OTHER ADVERBS Adjectives and Adverbs
Pointing Adjectives this, that, these, or those when they come before a noun Ex. This book is mine. this and that point to singular nouns Ex. This outfit is not suitable for that kind of occasion. these and those point to plural nouns Ex. These outfits are not suitable. never use them as a pointing adjective (it is only a pronoun) Ex. I plan to give them boys a hug. Ex. I plan to give those (or these) boys a hug. OR I plan to give them a hug. never use the following: this/that/them here/there Ex. This here is my car. Ex. This is my car.
The 3 Articles the, a, and an the = “definite” (specific)article a and an = “indefinite” articles Ex. We are going to the zoo. Ex. We are going to a zoo. Managing a and an depends on the sound of the word, not necessarily the written letter Ex. an olive if a word following a or an begins with a vowel sound (the sound of a, e, i, o, or u) use an; if not, use a Ex. a 5 percent drop some words begin with a vowel but have a consonant (all letters other than a, e, i, o, or u) sound, so they require a, not an Ex. a unicorn sometimes when a word begins with h, it is silent so an is used Ex. an honest man when stating a letter of the alphabet alone or as part of an abbreviation, go by the sound Ex. an M
Double Negatives double negative = when two negative words express one negative idea REMEMBER: two negatives should never be combined to express one negative idea Ex. I don’t know nobody in that class. Ex. I don’t know anybody in that class.
Positive Degree—for One Comparative Degree—for Two does not make a comparison Ex. She is young. Ex. It is artistic. compare two nouns or pronouns either add er to the end of the word or use more or less before the adjective Ex. She is younger. Ex. It is more artistic. Making Comparisons: Descriptive Adjectives 3 forms/degrees: positive, comparative, and superlative Superlative Degree—for Three or More compare three or more nouns or pronouns either add est to the end of the word or use most or least before the adjective Ex. She is the youngest. Ex. It is the most artistic.
Double Comparatives and Superlatives NEVER use more, most, less, or least before a modifier that ends with er or est Ex. She is the most happiest girl I’ve ever known. Ex. She is the happiest girl I’ve ever known.
Adjectives Adverbs modify nouns or pronouns modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs most (but not all) end in ly Ex. quickly (adverb) vs. quick (adjective) some do not end with ly Ex. always, never, often, seldom, very Should I use an adjective or an adverb? words change from adjective to adverb, depending on what they modify sometimes the same word is either an adjective or an adverb Ex. She is a fast runner. (adjective) Ex. She runs fast. (adverb)
Adjective to Adverb Comparisons to make ly adverbs comparative (for two) or superlative (for three or more), use more/less or most/least before them Ex. rude (adjective) rudely (adverb) more/less rudely (comparative adverb) most/least rudely (superlative adverb) Adjective to Adverb Comparisons Good/Well and Bad/Badly to choose between good and well, decide whether you need an adjective or an adverb choose good if an adjective is needed; choose well if an adverb is needed Ex. Emma wrote a good essay. Ex. Emma wrote really well. regarding one’s health or state of being, either good or well is correct with the being verb feel Ex. They feel good. Ex. They feel well. when health is not the topic, use an adjective after a being verb Ex. The pasta smells good. an adverb—never an adjective—always modifies an action verb Ex. She sings beautifully. Real and Sure these are adjectives, so do not use them to describe other adjectives Ex. He is real sorry for disappointing you. Ex. He is really sorry for disappointing you. real can mean “genuine” Ex. That is a real smile. if you can substitute very, you need an adverb Ex. She is very stupid.
Using Commas Correctly Items in a Series used to separate items in a series of three or more words, phrases, or clauses Ex. I have met Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Johnny Depp. [word series] Ex. Today I had to answer emails, buy groceries, and cook supper. [phrase series] Ex. We believe that your ideas were explained well, that your spelling was correct, and that your conclusion was strong. [clause series] not used if a conjunction (fanboy) comes before each item in the series Ex. Doctors and nurses and therapists are trying to help Betty. although technically correct, good writing requires that you omit extra words Ex. Doctors, nurses, and therapists are trying to help Betty. Two or More Adjectives Together apply the “series” rule to three or more items; for adjectives, however, use a comma between just two or more that describe the same noun Ex. The young girls collected flowers during the hot, sunny summer. [and makes sense between adjectives hot and sunny] Test by Omitting and imagine and between consecutive adjectives; if it makes sense, then it is correct to use a comma to replace and Ex. He is a funny, adorable boy. Ex. He is an adorable, funny boy. Test by Reversing the Adjectives if you reverse the order of consecutive adjectives and they make sense either way, use a comma Ex. Many young people attended the meeting. [reversing the adjectives—young many people—doesn’t make sense, so a comma is not needed]
Joining Independent Clauses Contrasting Expressions independent clause = subject+verb use a comma before a coordinating conjunction (fanboy) Ex. Emily emailed Sally, but she forgot to email Jen. [2 independent clauses are joined by a comma and the fanboy but] Ex. Emily emailed Sally but forgot to email Jen. [1 independent clause; subject = Emily; 2 verbs = emailed and forgot; prepositional phrase = to email Jen, therefore no comma is needed] How to Recognize Independent Clauses remember that an independent clause has to have a subject and a verb and it must be able to stand alone as a complete thought Ex. Not only is Veronica strong, but she also is good-looking. [2 independent clauses = comma needed] Ex. Veronica is not only strong but also is good-looking. [1 independent clause = no comma needed] Exception to the Comma Rule a comma is not needed in a short sentence (less than ten words) when and or or joins an independent clause Ex. She laughed and I giggled. if any other fanboy joins the independent clause, however, do use a comma regardless of sentence length Ex. She laughed, but I giggled. used to set off a sharply contrasting or opposite expression, generally introduced by not, never, seldom, but, or yet Ex. She often thinks about leaving him, but never goes through with it. used to replace an omitted verb that is easily understood from the wording of the rest of the sentence Ex. Emily is now in London and Sarah, in Manchester. Commas Join Parts of Sentences Omitting a Verb
Commas and Introductory Words many, but not all, introductory expressions are followed by a comma to separate them from the main idea—or independent clause—of the sentence used after one-word or very short expressions that introduce Ex. Yes, I would be happy to help you with your chores. used after the “direct address” of a person Ex. Mr. Smith, are you able to help me with my homework? not used after a short “place” and “time”, unless a comma is needed for clarification or emphasis Ex. In 2012 Vicky decided to go to college. used after an interrupting phrase that is not crucial to the meaning of the sentence Ex. In 2012, after talking to her husband, Vicky decided to go to college. used after a short introductory expression that includes a verb Ex. I was unsure, but I will complete it right away. used after an introductory expression of fewer than five words and no verb form, either for clarity or for transition Ex. Once outside, it was easier for the couple to relax. [clarity] Ex. Furthermore, she was able to finish her essay on time. [transition] used after an introductory expression of more than four words, either including a verb or not Ex. Because of her outrageous fashion choices, she stood out in a crowd.
Nonessential Expressions Essential Expressions require commas if removed, the rest of the sentence wouldn’t lose its meaning Ex. Jennifer Clark, of course, is late for work again. Ex. Jennifer Clark, who is a nurse, is late for work again. do not require commas if removed, the rest of the sentence would lose its meaning Ex. A person who wants to be a doctor should volunteer at a hospital. Ex. Someone like you should apply for this position. many of these are “essential” and do not require commas Ex. We saw your sister at the mall yesterday. Setting Off Words and Phrases Prepositional Phrases
USE WHICH TO BEGIN NONESSENTIAL EXPRESSIONS USE THAT TO BEGIN ESSENTIAL EXPRESSIONS Commas with Which and That Ex. The new house, which has been rented by Jeffrey Sanders, is on Dunbar Street. Ex. Houses that overlook the ocean will always be desirable.
Four Ways to use Commas 1. States 2. Dates American date style(comma) international or military date style (no comma) 3. Abbreviations 4. Names to separate the name of a state, province, or country that follows the name of a smaller unit, like a city Ex. Did you visit London, England, or London, Ontario? to separate the year from the day 2 different styles of dates: American (month/day/year) and international or military (day/month/year) Ex. The Independence Day ceremony was held on July 4, 2012. Ex. I left for London, England, on 23 December 2012. to express the title of an individual (do not use periods in these abbreviations) Ex. Bob F. Percy, PhD, will be speaking at the lecture this evening. do not separate an individual’s birth title (Jr., Sr., II, III), unless written that way Ex. David Smith Jr. when a company name is followed by a title such as Inc. or Ltd., do not insert a comma, unless specified Ex. GRB Engineering Inc. to directly use the name of a person Ex. Because you are such a good friend, Alex, I will invite you to my party.
3 Final Ways to Use Commas Quotation Marks to separate direct quotations (a person’s exact words) from the rest of the sentence this can happen at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence Ex. “I will never go on that rollercoaster again,” Joe said. [beginning] Ex. “I will never,” Joe said, “go on that rollercoaster again.” [middle] Ex. Joe said, “I will never go on that rollercoaster again.” [end] no comma is needed when a quotation ends with a question mark or an exclamation mark Ex. “Have you ever done that before?” asked Kaylee. no comma is needed before a quotation that is “woven” into the sentence Ex. Trina answered “no” to the question. Numbers numbers of more than 4 digits Ex. 15,420 in 4-digit numbers, it is recommended to add a comma Ex. $5,869 ensure consistency of commas when you have different denominations of numbers Ex. There are 15,250 red marbles, 10,000 blue marbles, and 25,000 green marbles. no commas are needed in numbers that “identify” (addresses, serial numbers, page numbers, etc.) Ex. page 669875 85 StreetNo. 12589 Addresses to separate address parts; however, no comma is needed between the province or state and the ZIP Ex. Please return the book to 8844 75 Avenue, Grande Prairie, AB T8X 0H7, before next week.
The Semicolon (;) The Colon (:) joins independent clauses Without Coordinating Conjunctions used between closely related independent clauses that are not joined by a coordinating conjunction (fanboys—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) Ex. Christmas is a week away; I should mail my Christmas cards soon. used before a transitional expression joining independent clauses Ex. Christmas is a week away; therefore, I should mail my Christmas cards. using a period after the first clause and a capital letter to begin a new sentence would also be correct Ex. Christmas is a week away. I should mail my Christmas cards soon. With Coordinating Conjunctions if a sentence already has two or more commas, it can be used before a coordinating conjunction Ex. Professor Dumbledore, who is a well-respected wizard and teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is an amazing teacher; but people have said he is thinking of retiring in the next year. Before Certain Transitions used after an independent clause that precedes for example, for instance, namely, or that is—if a list or an explanation is introduced Ex. When going on a first date, do not discuss inappropriate topics; for example, past partners or embarrassing secrets. Between Series Items used between the items of a series only if there are commas within the items as well Ex. WestJet layovers will be in Calgary, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Toronto, Ontario. introduces and emphasizes With Words, Clauses, and Phrases if a clause, phrase, or even a single word explains or is connected to the original clause, it is used Ex. One word describes how I feel right now: emotional. if a sentence introduces a quotation, it is used Ex. Tom added this statement to the letter: “I hope to hear from you in a week.” With Items in a Series or List used to introduce items in a series (more emphasis is placed) Ex. Julie desires these qualities in men: confidence, kindness, and humility. also used if items are listed vertically, whether or not the introduction is a sentence Ex. The groceries we need: apples milk bread ham Ex. The groceries we need are these: apples milk bread ham NOT used before a list if there is another sentence after the introductory sentence Ex. Please send the following people to detention. The principal needs to see them immediately. Sally Fields Fred Squires George Hung In Written Communications used after the salutation and a comma after the complimentary close in business letters and emails Salutation Dear Mrs. Sales: Complimentary close Sincerely, With Numbers used between hours and minutes to express time and for mathematical ratios Ex. I arrived for work at 8:30 a.m. Ex. The ratio is 5:3. (read as “5 to 3.”) How do I punctuate sentences properly?
Ending Punctuation (. ! ?) Period Question Mark elliptical question Exclamation Point used after a statement, command, or courteous request or indirect question that is a statement but sounds like a question Ex. We are going to study for our finals next week. [statement] Ex. Study for your finals this week. [command] Ex. Please study for your finals this week. [courteous request] Ex. Would you please study for your finals. [courteous request that sounds like a question] Ex. I asked whether you would study for your finals. [indirect question] used after an abbreviation Ex. Please plan to pick up the boys at 3 p.m. used to separate the digits in telephone numbers instead of parentheses and hyphens (still correct to write phone numbers traditionally, however) Ex. (800) 532-2432 or 800-532-2432 [traditional] Ex. 800.532.2432 [modern] used after a direct question that requires a reply Ex. Will you be at home at 7:00? short question (capitalize each question) Ex. Will you pay me back for that? If so, when? used at the end of a sentence to express strong feeling, it shows strong emotion or urgency Ex. I am so excited! Ex. No way!
Dashes Parentheses emphasize nonessential expressions ordinarily enclosed with commas Ex. My boss has misplaced two of my timecards— actually, it was more like three. de-emphasize expressions Ex. Henry Smith (my boss of five years) is not very nice. enclose information that is added to a sentence for reference or clarification Ex. The houses (see page 5 for addresses) need to be appraised. [references and dates] Ex. Please mail the following information immediately: (a) two references from previous employers; (b) a cover letter; (c) your current address. [numbers or letters of listed items] Ex. Betty had to go to the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting tonight. [abbreviations] Dashes and Parentheses
In Quotations Expressions within Parentheses used for adding words in order to add clarity or information within a quotation Ex. My boss stated, “Profits [January-April] are 0.09 percent below last year.” used for adding clarification within a parenthetical expression Ex. To understand what I am talking about in my essay, I suggest you read the book written by Sally Fields, How to Succeed in the Business World. (I believe it was published [by a vanity press] in the early 80s, but check online as well.) Brackets a stronger way to separate words
Bibliography Smith, Leila R. & Roberta Moore. English for Careers: Business, Professional, and Technical, 10th Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 1999.