Punctuation is the term used for the marks, such as the period/full stop, comma, dash, and parentheses, used to separate structural units, and perform other roles that clarify the meaning.

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Is there any general rule of thumb that can be followed for where and when to add commas and full stops?

I always mess up with my writing by adding commas and full stops (periods) in the wrong places. Is there any rule of thumb or some other way that I can follow to avoid this problem?
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4answers
430 views

When do I use the comma?

The monitor being ill, we'd better put the meeting off. The river having risen in the night the crossing was impossible. In the above two sentences, one uses the comma and one does not. So, ...
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5answers
39k views

What is the best way to punctuate a list of questions in a declarative sentence?

In my report a need to write a list of example questions that someone might ask, but I would like to do it in a sentence rather than a separate list. Here is an example: This poses questions such ...
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4answers
33k views

When do I use a question mark with “Could you [please] …”

A sentence like Could you please pass me the pepper shaker is not really a question. Should I use a question mark or a period to end this sentence? What about: Could you let me know when ...
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3answers
6k views

How to use “if you will”

What is the proper way to use if you will? Here is an example. It's like riding a car, if you will. Is the punctuation right?
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2answers
3k views

Is it mandatory to use a comma before a coordinating conjunction uniting the two independent clauses in a compound sentence?

My friend and I had an argument about whether this sentence required a comma: I understand where you're coming from but I disagree. My friend insisted that there should be a comma before "but": ...
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4answers
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Should there be a comma before “though” when it occurs at the end of a sentence?

Consider I don't know how outdated it is though. Should there be a comma before though, as in the following? I don't know how outdated it is, though.
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2answers
5k views

Colon use when introducing a list split across sentences

I understand that a colon should be used to introduce a list: We required three ingredients: eggs, milk and butter. However, what happens if there is a full stop between list elements? We ...
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3answers
10k views

Use of “e.g.” — are parentheses necessary?

Is it appropriate to use "e.g." in a sentence without using parentheses? This administrative access control should provide visibility into access via multiple vectors (e.g. group access rights ...
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3answers
205 views

How to phrase a list that continually refers to the first word in the list

How do I properly write this sentence? The census shall provide the total population, its structure and spatial distribution. The second two items are dependent upon "population", but it seems ...
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4answers
5k views

Using i.e. in parentheses

When a writer uses parentheses to define a phrase or clarify a word in a sentence, is it appropriate also to use i.e. in the parentheses? That use seems redundant to me.
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2answers
364 views

Punctuation of eye dialect

Suppose you have a sentence which concludes with the eye dialect somethin' for the word something. Where does the period go? Which is correct? This is really somethin'. This is really ...
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2answers
6k views

When should end punctuation go inside quotes?

I have been/am being taught that end punctuation should always go inside quotes. For example, you are supposed to write: Marvin thought it was "awful." The problem is I do not see how does this ...
4
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2answers
897 views

Rules about prepositions and duplicating 'to'

On occasion, I end up writing sentences that contain a duplicate word, often what is probably a preposition (or better yet, an adposition). The specific example that I just ran into involves a ...
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4answers
823 views

Comma and “too”

Why is there a comma in the following comic?
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2answers
3k views

Comma in conditional sentence and in antithesis

I've got a couple questions: Should I always put comma between condition and consequence parts, like in the following sentence: If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Should I always ...
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7answers
104k views

Where does the period go when using parentheses?

Where should the period go when using parentheses? For example: In sentence one, I use this example (which has a parenthesis at the end.) Should the period be inside, or outside of the ...
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6answers
3k views

Is the following sentence punctuated correctly?

I feel like something is wrong with the ", notably" part, but I can't explain why! Is the following sentence grammatically correct? Employees give relatively low scores across a variety of ...
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1answer
311 views

Is it correct to use “are you” instead of “if you're”?

As an example: This is a good read, are you interested in more related topics. What are these type of sentences called? Does it follow the same grammar as: Should you require more ...
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5answers
2k views

How to handle a name that includes an exclamation point (or other punctuation)?

Certain brands, such as Yahoo!, insist that the exclamation is part of their name. In writing about such a brand or company, is the inclusion of the vanity punctuation right, wrong, or optional? I ...
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0answers
610 views

Do I need to place a comma before an address? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter? I am not sure if the way I have formulated the title of my question is correct, so if you know better, ...
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7answers
18k views

Is there any rule for the placement of space after and before parenthesis?

I often get stuck when forming or formatting a sentence with one or more parenthesis. For example, I wrote an answer on another stackexchange site, in which I wrote: ...whereas, my phone(xperia ...
4
votes
1answer
579 views

Punctuation within quotes

When I was at school I was told that a quote should end with a comma. For example: "The car is on the road," said Tom. "No it isn't," replied Dick. "He's right — it's over there!" said Harry. ...
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2answers
1k views

Which punctuation for definition

I have the following sentence: To this end, I first devised a novel algorithm to enumerate all possible partitions; ways of dividing a network into meaningful parts. I was told that the ...
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2answers
3k views

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?

What are the rules on when to use commas, colons, semicolons and dashes?
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4answers
2k views

Should I place a question mark after “Can you (just) imagine”?

I mean should I always split the sentence into two ("And can you imagine? He escaped through the window!") or I can just get away with one long sentence without a question mark at all (something like ...
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5answers
1k views

Is the question mark misused in affirmative sentences?

For example, I found the following sentence written by a native English speaker (UK) so I'm going to assume that he knows how to put it the right way, although I wouldn't use this form. I now have ...
15
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5answers
3k views

Is it correct to use “punctuation outside of the quotations”, or “inside?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I punctuate around quotes? When should end punctuation go inside quotes? Or is it region specific? I was always taught that when ending a quotation, that ...
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3answers
374 views

How does one correctly use a “-” outside of hyphenation - if at all?

When writing out emails I often find myself replacing semicolons with hyphens or dashes. For example, "Let's meet up at the pub - or would you rather go to a restaurant?" I feel this is wrong, but I ...
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1answer
2k views

Periods for bullet point items

In a 'bulleted' list should items that happen to be complete sentences end with a period?
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2answers
2k views

Is “ ’s ” ever correct for pluralization?

A relatively modern dictionary (I don’t know which one, because we’ve cut out the pages and used them as wallpaper in our bathroom, but I know it’s less than 20 years old) indicates that R’s is one ...
3
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1answer
315 views

Confused as to whether I should use commas or not

I am getting some gifts engraved for my wedding party and I can't decide whether to use commas or not. Should it be: Thank you Neil for being our Usher or: Thank you, Neil, for being our ...
5
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2answers
481 views

Finding out the names of symbols

Is there a comprehensive list on the web where I can find the names of common symbols? Google unfortunately doesn't search on symbols, so it is pretty much useless there. Specifically, what is ` ...
3
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2answers
494 views

Introducing a paragraph that also contains colons

At work, sometimes I have to send people password reminders. Our experience shows that about half the time when people think they don't remember their password, they're actually mistyping their login ...
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2answers
6k views

Position of question mark when sentence doesn't end with question

This is something that has always bugged me. I am never sure where to place the question mark, or whether to place it at all when the end of the sentence does not finish with a question, or a number ...
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14answers
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If an insertion in parentheses ends with a smiley, how do I distinguish between the two?

I know smileys are not part of written language (yet), and any questions about them are irrelevant to linguistics and are kind of not serious. So take my question with a smiley then. It bugs me ...
5
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1answer
990 views

A colon after “following”

When I reference to the next sentence or sentences using the term following, is the preferred way to use a colon or a full stop? An example: Consider the sentence 'I wash the clothes'. Replacing ...
4
votes
3answers
9k views

Comma in compound/complex sentences

Is there a rule, which states that one must or must not use comma before "then" in a sentence like this: If you can read this, then you might want to answer this question.
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1answer
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“If” with implicit “then” question: Should a comma be used?

Consider the following phrase: If the fruit is an apple, it should be given to children. Is the comma after apple necessary? Is it optional? Is it wrong?
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4answers
23k views

Is it ever correct to have a space before a question or exclamation mark?

In written English (mainly online) I often come across sentences ending with a question or an exclamation mark with a space before it. Is it always just an error or a typo? Or there are cases when it ...
17
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3answers
5k views

Parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes to provide additional detail

When do you use commas and when do you use parentheses to provide more detail about something? For example: The suspect, Tom Wilson, is now being charged with murder. The suspect (Tom Wilson) is ...
6
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2answers
238 views

Henry Adams’s use of punctuation, “:—” [duplicate]

I’ve never seen the construction before, except in Spanish for dialogue and Toni Morrison using the variation “;—” in Beloved for denoting a strong pause (well, that’s what we decided in my English ...
4
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3answers
689 views

What punctuation is this sentence missing?

One big ass mistake America. I'm thinking it should be: One big ass mistake, America.
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3answers
13k views

Usage of “he himself”

The boy's innate goodness will withstand the challenges because unless he himself wants to turn evil, [...]. My teacher thinks that commas should set off the word "himself", but I disagree. Who ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Plural name apostrophe position

At my English lesson the native English speaker couldn’t tell what is correct and promised to search it for us! He told us that if James is one person then we should write James' Book but if ...
9
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2answers
956 views

When can I use an interrobang‽

I have only ever seen the interrobang discussed as a novelty; I've never seen it used in context. Is there a situation in which its use is acceptable?
5
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1answer
392 views

Confusion between colon and dash

For example, take a look at the following sentence: There’s nothing to see — no one can handle you, dear. What are the general guidelines?
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3answers
1k views

Is Hyphen Really the Longer – line instead of the shorter dash - line?

I had a discussion with some people today on hyphen and dashes. They had concluded that hyphen, which is used to link two connecting words (book-bag) is the longer line – instead of the shorter line ...
9
votes
4answers
23k views

Handling quotes ending in exclamation or question marks [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “punctuation outside of the quotations”, or “inside?” I've always had trouble dealing with quotes ending in question marks. ...
8
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4answers
13k views

Correct spelling/italicization of e.g., i.e.?

Should e.g. and i.e. have periods, e.g. "e.g.", or no periods, eg "eg"? Should they be italicized, e.g. "i.e." or not, eg "i.e"?