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Should the semicolon at the end of an underlined heading also be underlined?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The general rule seems to be to include the punctuation in the underlined text only if it is an integral part of the final word. This would include initialisms such as U.S. and special cases such as the musical Oklahoma!

Otherwise, if the punctuation is simply to end the piece of text — such as a period, semi-colon, and so on — it should not be underlined.

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Why are you underlining text? In HTML parlance, adhering punctuation marks are not placed inside of a link. For example:

This is a very useful <a href="http://www.google.com">link</a>; use it when you want to find stuff.

Underlining text, to me, seems to be an anachronism that goes back to the typewriter.

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Apologies, jumped in and changed your example code to a link without thinking... now rolled back. – Snubian Dec 15 '11 at 1:23
+1 for "Underlining ... an anachronism", how true! – Kris Dec 15 '11 at 7:24

Perhaps I do this wrong in my own writing, but I do not underline punctuation (comma, period, exclamation point, question mark, colon, semicolon, etc) when the preceding word is underlined unless that punctuation mark is part of the title, as in Oklahoma! or Stomp!.

Underlining text is certainly not an "anachronism that goes back to the typewriter" because in MLA (Modern Language Association) format, APA (American Psychological Association) format, etc, underlining is one of the several ways specified to refer to books.

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In the good ol' days of the typewriter, we would carefully avoid underlining punctuation marks, esp., the period, comma, colon, semicolon, etc., because all or part of the punctuation mark would be obscured by the underline.

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As I learned in Typing in both high school and Business School -- you do not underline punctuation! You end the underline under the last word, unless it is a title. Where did "anachronism that goes back to typewriter" person pick up their knowledge -- Twitter?

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