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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Does the word after a question mark start with a capital letter?

Should I write it like this? Or perhaps like this? Should I write it like this? or perhaps like this? What about after an exclamation mark or semicolon?
381
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18answers
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How do you quote a passage that has used '[sic]' mistakenly?

The usage of '[sic]' is well defined for quoting a passage that you believe has an error in it: nearest to the mistake you place '[sic]' within the quotes. For example, suppose I write a letter from I ...
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2answers
2k views

Must a colon be appended to “that is”?

In certain sentences, I use that is to rephrase something, be more specific or elaborate. Example: This coffee is so black, it must have been prepared by someone who works a lot, that is: an ...
2
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0answers
134 views

Dealing with multiple layers of embedded quotes [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How are embedded quotations used? What's the Difference in Usage Between Using Single and Two Quotation Marks/Inverted Commas? Let's say I want to write a question here ...
3
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5answers
7k views

What is the correct punctuation for an indirect question?

I'm wondering how it is correct to structure sentence and what punctuation should be used. In particular, is the next sentence correct: I was wondering if there's any progress on the issue. Or ...
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3answers
869 views

What does it mean to use a single quote to abbreviate things?

I see people use the single quote every now and then. I know common phrases like can't, you'll, I'd. But otherwise, I am quite confused why, when and how it should be used. To name a few, Sweet ...
3
votes
4answers
289 views

Using the semicolon in my sentence

I am writing an essay and don't have a fundamental understanding in using semicolons, and in fact writing as well. My sentence is below: Group dynamics is the study of the processes and functions ...
1
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3answers
5k views

Is it acceptable to use a tilde symbol to sign your name?

Should the tilde symbol (~) be used to sign your name? It seems quite commonplace on Internet forums but I don't believe I've ever seen it used in books.
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3answers
6k views

Writing “the class of 2014” in a résumé?

Is “class of 2014” correct? Is “class of ’14” correct? Assuming the reader is aware of the context, is simply using “’14” correct?
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1answer
15k views

How to deal with abbreviations like 'etc.' at the end of parentheses which are closing a sentence?

In Hungarian, when there's a dot both inside and outside parentheses at the end of a sentence, we write it as follows: Sok állatom van (kutya, macska stb.). (Meaning: I've got many animals ...
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votes
3answers
6k views

What does the punctuation “//” mean?

What does the punctuation "//" mean? For example: I think I owe myself a THWACK. //ashamed ... //run ... //head down I heard this is related to the comment in the programming ...
14
votes
4answers
34k views

AM/PM vs a.m./p.m. vs am/pm

I used to think PM/AM was correct, but at some point, I switched to using p.m./a.m. for reasons I can't recall. I know that in practical, casual writing, people tend to use whatever form is most ...
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2answers
10k views

Can/should I put a comma before a phrase's time specifier?

For instance, consider the sentence, "I ate lunch today." Is it necessary or acceptable to put a comma before "today?" Generally speaking, some of these time phrases look wrong to me when used with a ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Do mathematical equations require punctuation?

Mathematicians rarely heed the advice of grammarians. In mathematical writing, one often places equations in a numbered environment outside of the inline text. Consider the following example. Define ...
2
votes
1answer
245 views

Is there anything wrong with this sentence? [closed]

I'm focused on the punctuation. If anybody can help point out if there are any errors, I'd appreciate it. The two characters in the band are James (left—who I worked with previously for his ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

“of the feudal Estates type” or “of the feudal-Estates type”?

In one Wikipedia page I read this definition: The zemsky sobor was the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. I don't understand, why is there ...
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2answers
425 views

“I would often tell you.”

Can you have a sentence like ________________, I would often tell you. and the part that's left out isn't in quotes?
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2answers
13k views

Punctuation with “The question is…” '.', '?' or ' “… ?” ' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Position of question mark when sentence doesn't end with question Take this statement for example: That's not the question. The question is what was Colonel ...
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4answers
5k views

How are “yes” and “no” formatted in sentences?

If I am expecting an answer from a question and wish to state my prediction, do I need to use quotes around a simple "yes" or "no"? I think the answer is no. / I think the answer is "no." ...
2
votes
3answers
964 views

Punctuation for “then fine”

This is one of those colloquialisms that doesn't seem to translate to a complete sentence, but how would you properly punctuate and/or correct the following sentence? I'd like you to keep working, ...
7
votes
4answers
581 views

When and why did the em-dash and the hyphen supplant the semicolon?

It seems to me that semicolons are rarely used today in ordinary English writing - even in newspapers and books. They appear to have been replaced, in many cases, by em-dashes and hyphens (the hyphen ...
2
votes
2answers
285 views

What punctuation should be used in the end of the direct speech before “but”?

There have already been several questions here about how to use punctuation properly in the direct speech. I've looked through most of them and didn't find an answer to my case. So here I go with my ...
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0answers
265 views

Use “a” or “an” in a sentence with parentheses? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement Should I use "a" or "an" in a sentence like this: There's just an (usually small, but) unbounded number... ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Punctuation to introduce a list: comma vs. colon vs. nothing

Which of these sentences is written correctly? Angela has three brothers, Mark, Adam, and Ryan. Angela has three brothers: Mark, Adam, and Ryan. Angela has three brothers Mark, Adam, and ...
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votes
4answers
693 views

Correct punctuation of a phrase?

Knowledge is expensive. But even more so, is stupidity. or Knowledge is expensive. But, stupidity is even more so. I'm very confused as to the correct punctuation and order or the above ...
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4answers
3k views

When should you use a semicolon *with* a conjunction?

I know the basics of a semicolon—at least I think I do. Aside from delimiting verbose lists, it separates independent clauses of a sentence. So, if you have two independent clauses in a sentence, ...
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3answers
2k views

Is it acceptable to omit the last period of an acronym?

After reading this post, I was struck by the omission of the period (full stop) at the end of the acronym given. A.V.C I've never seen this before here in the States. Is it permissible here? In ...
0
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1answer
199 views

AVC or A.V.C or A.V.C [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it OK to drop the periods in abbreviations? Okay, so in School I was always tought that when we want to abbreviate, we must use a full stop "." inbetween each letter, ...
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5answers
2k views

Is the phrase, “Use commas sparingly” a valid piece of advice?

I am currently in the process of collaboratively editing a research paper, and participated in a meeting about it today. During the discussion, the head of the group made a blanket statement about ...
5
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2answers
730 views

Syntax for marking incorrect examples of language

I have noticed various marks in example sentences to denote incorrect examples of English: This is correct. *This incorrectly. The former is left alone; the latter has an asterisk marking ...
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4answers
3k views

Punctuation around the word “OK” at the end of a sentence

If a sentence ends in "OK", and the sentence is a request, usually there is a comma before the OK and a question mark after it. The comma signifies a pause, correct? What if there was no pause, then ...
3
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4answers
815 views

Can “…” mean the same thing as a semicolon?

Can a semicolon be replaced with "..." (an ellipsis) in a sentence? Is there any difference at all?
0
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1answer
118 views

New sentence after semicolon

After a semicolon what follows isn't capitalized like at the beginning of a sentence. However, what if it were? Would that be incorrect?
2
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2answers
627 views

Can “;” be used to replace the word “but”?

Are these two sentences both correct and equivalent? People say stuff like "all lawyers are liars", but it's not true. People say stuff like "all lawyers are liars"; it's not true. Is ...
2
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1answer
443 views

Should I use a comma or semicolon to separate these ideas?

I can no longer remember her face, too much time has passed. I can no longer remember her face; too much time has passed.
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3answers
7k views

What does an exclamation mark inside parentheses “(!)” mean?

What does an exclamation mark inside parentheses "(!)" mean? I saw this in a book review I was reading and I didn't understand what the use of it was. Can someone help me?
8
votes
5answers
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Why does this abbreviation “tl;dr” have a punctuation mark in it?

The abbreviated form of "Too long; didn't read" is tl;dr. To me it kind of defeats the purpose of typing an abbreviation quickly, if I have to type the ; key too. Why is tl;dr more common than TLDR, ...
13
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1answer
2k views

How to deal with abbreviations at the end of a question?

In a sentence like Should we host them on imgur et cetera? where I want to abbreviate the "et cetera", what is the correct punctuation? Using a period after the "etc." like mid sentence usages ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I use adjacent parentheses or a semicolon (or something else)?

In scientific writing it is common to use parentheses to refer to the details of statistical analyses at the end of a sentence. However, it is also common to refer to figures or tables this way. ...
14
votes
4answers
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Punctuation after “P.S.”

Somewhere in the craggy quagmire of my memory, I seem to recall that the nuns of my grade school days taught me that a P.S. (post script) is followed by a colon, i.e. P.S.: Alas, the periods after ...
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vote
2answers
3k views

Does a comma have to be used before a quotation?

If before the quote the word "saying" or "said" is used, does a comma always have to be used before it? When does a comma not have to be used?
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votes
8answers
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Is it acceptable to use “especially” at the beginning of a sentence?

Whenever I see a sentence starting with "especially," I always get the impression that this is not grammatically correct. From example: The high water-salt ratio will not be good for you. ...
4
votes
3answers
292 views

When is creating punctuation appropriate?

I recently saw the character '‽' (the interrobang, a mashing of '!' and '?') in an answer's comment and it got me thinking about another character I've seen recently: the sarcmark. In my estimation ...
3
votes
1answer
997 views

Usage of '' to mean “ditto”

The NOAD reports that '' (two single quotation marks) is a symbol used to mean ditto. When is it used? Should it be used to replace the same word that appears in the same position but in the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is it called when a single word is offset by commas?

I'm not sure if I can generalize this type of construct, but is there a grammar term for single words surrounded by commas? Consider the following examples: Let's assume you are given a length ...
11
votes
2answers
34k views

Should sentences like “I wonder…” end with a question mark?

This may be related to a general grammar rule, but which of these is correct? I wonder if Steve Jobs will be giving the keynote speech at WWDC this year? or I wonder if Steve Jobs will be ...
1
vote
1answer
354 views

How do I handle articles with parenthetical statements? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement If I were to use a (normal) parenthetical statement, the article would not cause problems. If I were to use a ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How should lists of questions be punctuated?

If one wishes to pose a series of questions in the form of a list, how would one go about punctuating that list? For example: I write to a colleague asking for an update on a project he is working ...
7
votes
1answer
770 views

Did the underscore character exist before modern computers? [closed]

I've noticed that in computer programming, underscores are used extensively to create names that are technically one word long but consist of several different words. For example, C++ has ...
4
votes
1answer
158 views

“loving” vs. “love”

Boy your loving is all I think about 1) Why not a comma after 'boy'? Is this grammar correct, because it looks like two subjects? 2) Why not 'love'? What's the difference in this sentence?