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 it correct to use a semi-colon or a colon in this sentence?

Would it be better to use a colon or semi-colon in the following sentence: That being said, the ontological argument fails to do what it intends; it does not prove the existence of God a priori. ...
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100 views

correctly dotting the “i”s and crossing the “t”s in the expression “dotting the i's and crossing the t's” [duplicate]

I've found questions here at ELU related to the meaning of the expression (I'm clear on that), but this is about the best way to punctuate the expression in the title. Possibilities: a. It's ...
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19 views

Punctuation with complete or incomplete list of items [duplicate]

Here's a situation: John, Anne, Jake, Pete...they are all from the same class. Is there any way to punctuate this sentence without using the ellipsis? Is an "and" necessary before the last item ...
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1answer
107 views

What does the dash (“—”) in this sentence do? [duplicate]

Does "–" between methods and documenting have any function in this sentence? What is it trying to say? Moreover, multi-lingual texts, like vernacular works, have traditionally had strong ...
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3answers
76 views

Comma usage when a question appears at the end of a quotation, at the end of a subordinate clause

What would be the correct way to punctuate the following sentence? Rather than thinking, "am I being a jerk?", Johann cut to the front of the line, as he did every Tuesday.
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114 views

What is the correct punctuation to use in the following complex sentence?

Understanding this sentence does, of course, rely heavily on the contextual information provided by my essay. However, I am unsure if I have punctuated this sentence correctly or at all in the right ...
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3answers
2k views

Why is “like” as in Facebook likes often put between quotes?

I often see people use the noun with quotes: We have received a lot of "likes." rather than: We have received a lot of likes. Why is this done?
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42 views

Capitalization after ellipsis

Although there does exist a related question on SE, it doesn't exactly address my issue. What that question asks if the first letter should be capitalized after an ellipsis. I have the same question ...
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1answer
86 views

Capitalization in direct speech without quotation marks

My question has been largely answered in the discussion linked to below. However, one question remains: in mid-sentence hypothetical direct speech without quotation marks, what is preferable ...
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2answers
439 views

Should a semicolon precede an adverb that does not separate two independent clauses?

The sentence I wrote is as follows: The idea behind this technique was that the human eye could not differentiate between the individual colors of each point, thereby causing the eye to blend the ...
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2answers
66 views

Comma in “Hello Michael” [duplicate]

Should comma be used in sentences like "Hello, Michael" / "Hello Michael" ? For example, there is a wikipedia article Hello, sailor (with comma), but it mentions two different books, a band, and two ...
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1answer
64 views

“Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape”

He teaches Potions, but he doesn't want to—everyone knows he's after Quirrell's job. Knows an awful lot about the Dark Arts, Snape. From time to time I stumble upon this type of speech with ...
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33 views

Multiple types of items in parenthesis, abbreviation + reference

In a sentence how do you correctly use punctuate both an abbreviation and a reference within the same parentheses? The Carbon Footprint of imports (CFi, table 1)..
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573 views

Is “Helper Verb” Old School?

My dilemma is that most of my grammar knowledge goes back a half century, and I want to give current and up to date advice to new English language learners. The opening sentence of this post shows an ...
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1answer
45 views

Spaces within abbreviations and initials

I have come across examples supporting both spaced as well as non-spaced examples and that's what confuses me. I want to understand what the standard practice is as endorsed by any of the major style ...
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2answers
72 views

“5-min” video vs “5 min” video vs “5min” video

Example: Paul and Jake discuss the Frame Timing API in this 5-min video: … Which character (if any) should be put between the number and the word “min”?
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1answer
38 views

What is the proper punctuation?

Is the following punctuation usage correct? To Jim it was a mystery; to Jane, a revelation.
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78 views

Multiple instances of the same (foreign) word

Consider the following snippet: The Spanish word lágrima comes from Latin lacrima which also has a descendant in English. When you cry, your eyes get their tears from special glands known as ...
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2answers
70 views

Comma usage while explaining a single word

Consider the following sentence: The French word entrailles means inward. Is it advisable to surround entrailles with commas in this case like this? The French word, entrailles, means inward. Or ...
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11 views

What is the name for this punctuation combination: “?!” [duplicate]

I can't believe this; Is it actually a true story?!
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1answer
83 views

How to indicate omitted punctuation?

I signaled that I removed a comma here by <s>,</s> (which shows as  , ) but what's the official manner or practice? I don't want to use an ellipsis, because it might confuse and ...
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1answer
128 views

Should there be a comma in “You again?”?

The original sentence is: You again? In which, I am wondering if I should insert a comma after "You": You, again? Which one is more correct, and why?
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3answers
103 views

poetic effect of segmentation of a group of words

Some poems break a sentence or a clause into two lines at the middle of one meaning group of words, like - ... a blue sky and ... What effect such an irregular line break has? Mr. Garrison ...
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2answers
151 views

Number of dots in an ellipsis

It might be an odd question, but I'm trying to comprehend why do we use three dots in an ellipsis. Wouldn't two dots suffice? An ellipsis serves a dual purpose, it can be used to either denote an ...
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203 views

Does this sentence require a comma somewhere?

Mark Twain understood that lampooning a bad idea with humor was the most effective criticism. I just can't help but feel there's a comma in there somewhere, but I can't figure it out!!
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81 views

Should I use comma, or dashes, or braces here?

Should I enclose 'red and blue' inside comma, or dashes, or braces? He spent several days wandering and collecting flowers (red and blue), and analyzed the results to prove his point. OR ...
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2answers
164 views

Is there a word that describes 'the study of punctuation'?

I am thinking about this in a non-grammatical, non-paleographic, and non-linguistic sense, although I am aware punctuation is studied as part of all these (and other) fields. I am interested in ...
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1answer
83 views

When to use Comma before coordinating conjunctions?

So I understand that serial comma (the one used before and/or) is used only when we have 3 or more items to be separated using and/or. What exactly is the rule that governs where to add comma before ...
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3answers
68 views

Two periods required?

When a sentence ends with a parenthetical statement which itself ends with a period, does the sentence also need a period? Example: I love eating vegetables (carrots, peas, etc.). The two ...
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1answer
69 views

Comma vs ellipsis in formal writing

Which of the following is the most acceptable construction in formal written English: Think of words like sin, din, bin...the list goes on. Think of words like sin, din, bin, the list goes on. Think ...
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1answer
85 views

Use of a hyphen with the word “based”

I'm checking a technical paper submission and came across the phrase We propose spherical Gaussian based approximations to calculate this analytically. and wondering if this needs a ...
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1answer
74 views

Punctuation for referring to a question

Are either of these incorrect or nonstandard ways to refer to a question mid sentence? Or are both of them okay? Our experiment set out to answer the question; is running fruit under water an ...
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1answer
84 views

Colon or semicolon?

We need help with colons and semicolons - and we need the definitive answer here, with examples. Here is my example: There is hardly any reason to be happy in the DPRK: the people are the most ...
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3answers
72 views

Period with quotes and double quotes

Consider the following sentences: Long ago, "fuego" started with an "h" instead of "f". There is connection between the words, "bishop" and "episcopal". Is the period used correctly after the ...
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1answer
29 views

Comma usage dilemma

What I want to say is that the church would be your hospital, the holy water would be your medicine, and the priest would be your doctor. But since "would be" seems too overused and redundant in the ...
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1answer
466 views

Hello [Comma?] John,

I have a follow up question to this question: Should you use a comma/period after "Thanks"/"Regards" in email signatures? My question is: when should you add a comma when starting ...
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1answer
61 views

Should there be a colon before a title?

Which of the following sentences has been punctuated correctly: This recommendation is based on a European guideline: Managing Neuropathic Pain. This recommendation is based on a European ...
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1answer
69 views

“Problem: solved.” or “Problem, solved.” or “Problem—solved.”

How should one correctly achieve the flow of this short sentence through the use of punctuation? Problem. Solved. In my specific example, I'm writing about how to restore creativity lost to the ...
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1answer
92 views

How to know when to use dashes or commas or braces when describing something in the middle of a sentence?

For example, you have a sentence like this: But let’s pluck a word at random from the vocabulary tree: lambaste. Let’s say whenever you encounter this word, the first four letters, l-a-m-b, ...
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68 views

How do I hypenate a triple modifier?

How would I hypenate the phrase 'high poverty public school?' My first guess was 'high-poverty public school', but I'm not really sure.
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1answer
42 views

Point of difficulty in how punctuation should be handled in and around quotations relating to software logging statements

I sent an e-mail to somebody in the office this morning that had to do with some logging statements in our software, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle commas and such around the quotation marks. ...
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1answer
105 views

Does the following need a comma? “You must post 'precautions for usage, etc.' where applicable.”

This is for a poster regarding the treatment of dangerous chemicals in a lab. I have the generally feeling that after the "etc." there should be a comma, and I'm not sure if 1) it is necessary and 2) ...
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1answer
31 views

Is this in-text citation correctly punctuated?

I wonder if the following punctuation I made in my literary translation for an in-text citation is correct in conventional English. Or should I omit the period after parentheses? Or should I omit the ...
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2answers
53 views

Comma use in a list of quotations [duplicate]

In an essay for my English class I wrote this sentence. The decision of what I would like to do with my future has been filled with phrases like "undecided", "I don't know", and "I'm not sure yet". ...
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1answer
52 views

How would you hyphenate a 4 word phrase?

The context is "...how self-uncertainty affects attitudes toward non-group-identity-affiliated topics, such as..." For some more context, "group identity" is a phrase in psychology. So my two thoughts ...
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4answers
66 views

Punctuation with maximum

How would I edit the following to be correct? He would hardly sleep. Sometimes just two hours a night, maximum – four, and no more. Should a hyphen be used? I do not want to add any words, just ...
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3answers
594 views

Full stop after signing off emails

Is it correct to put a full stop after signing emails. For example should it be Regards, Cristiano or Regards, Cristiano.
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3answers
51 views

Is a comma required here?

"During the war David was a pilot in the RAF." This sentence looks OK to me, but would there be any reason for or against putting a comma after "war"?
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2answers
40 views

Is comma usage in this phrase correct?

I have a phrase that reads: Section 8.01, entitled "Polar Bonding in Basic Organic Compounds," provides, in pertinent part, that due to the slight electro-negative bias of Flourine, the ...
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3answers
168 views

Comma or no comma before the word “and” [duplicate]

I'm curious about whether to use comma before "and". Some people told me that using comma to connect two different sentences and two different subjects. Please provide some examples to explain the ...