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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Pauses and Punctuation

My girlfriend and I were discussing the following sentence: "Curiosity and diversity were discouraged, at times, disciplined." I feel that there is clearly a larger pause with the first comma than ...
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2answers
70 views

quoting and punctuating a quote within parentheses

How do I make sure to punctuate my quotes within parentheses correctly? For example: Joe did not demonstrate insight into how he might alter his behavior to improve his social interactions (e.g., ...
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0answers
45 views

What happened to the possessive form, its'? [duplicate]

When I was young, the possessive form of the word, it, required an apostrophe preceded by an S. An example our teacher used, which I've always remembered, was: "It's my work but I am its' property, ...
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1answer
239 views

How to end one-word sentences like “done”?

How do we end one-word sentences? Should there be a full stop or another punctuation mark? or can I just use it without any punctuation mark? I usually say "Done." in response to emails where I'm ...
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1answer
67 views

How would you write informal language like this?

"What are you, a saint?" or "What are you? A saint?" Or is there a better way of punctuating this?
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2answers
48 views

Punctuation to separate clauses: “What is X _ now that Y?”

In sentences like: What is your name _ now that you have changed it? Where do they live _ now that the coal industry has collapsed? Why are we still here _ now that the election is over? ...
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1answer
57 views

Why and when did the practice of successive punctuation marks such as periods (…) originate in English sentence structure?

Ex. "* The MS. is here deficient; but ....b for 'byrig' is discernible." ---Ingram. Source: Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Edited by J.A. Giles D.C.L.; London: George ...
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1answer
44 views

How should one punctuate a sentence like this? [closed]

How should one punctuate a sentence like the following? If she were to find out about our . . . "secret plan" shall I say . . . it would be the end of everything.
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2answers
93 views

Can a colon be used after a helping verb like “is”?

I'm writing an answer to a science question and I'm not sure if I need a semicolon in the sentence. The problem for the experiment is; How do homing pigeons find their way home?
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4answers
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I thought blah blah blah, and I was right. Is the comma correct?

This sentence is bugging me: I knew going in that the orange flavor component of the cake was going to be lacking, and I was right. The comma doesn't seem to be enough, but the semicolon just ...
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1answer
42 views

Where would the commas go in this sentence?

A man so powerful he could crush stones in his hands approached me. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing after "powerful" and maybe "hands"?
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0answers
32 views

Are hyphens needed in a noun-phrase that precedes 'manner'? [duplicate]

I sometimes use "manner" to use noun-phrases as adverbs, like "in the manner of a vigilant watchdog". If I reverse the order, does the noun phrase then have to be hypenated? Like so: "in a ...
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1answer
89 views

Punctuation with unusual element in begining of the sentence

I want to bend English a bit and put weird elements into position one, mirroring the more idiomatic constructions there are. Here's the "standard"sentence The rule is clear, but it makes no sense ...
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2answers
1k views

Punctuation around the word “namely”

It seems somehow tricky to apply the right punctuation when it comes to the word namely. I got the following advice: Search globally for "namely", and add a comma after it, as well as a comma, a ...
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4answers
94 views

This requires a comma, correct?

He jumped down, creating a cloud of dust. I think it's just because the sentence is so short that it looks odd with a comma, but grammatically speaking, that comma is necessary, right?
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2answers
87 views

punctuating phrases

How do you punctuate a phrase such as "Waste not, want not." to indicate that the second phrase is dependent on the first. To me, you could read the above punctuation, which is typical, as "Waste ...
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1answer
61 views

What is the correct way to punctuate this? [duplicate]

There were forty-nine messages, the first of which was “Is it true that you moved to Florida?” sent to my cell phone. It seems like there should be another comma after Florida, but you've already ...
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1answer
85 views

How to word two items together compared to a separate item?

Consider the following example: "there is a relationship between cats and dogs and bears". How can this be punctuated/worded so that it is clear that the comparison is between [cats and dogs] and ...
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1answer
73 views

Using a period… the mean way?

Should you put a period after one-word "sentences?" For example, my boss frequently emails me this way: Name. Content content content. Thanks. It feels very angry, rude, and ...
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2answers
63 views

Omitting commas around non-critical details

In the sentence His ID card is missing, as well as his dog, Ian, though it's likely no-one will notice the latter. is it appropriate to remove the commas around "his dog, Ian,"? The sentence ...
4
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4answers
269 views

Adjective order: Why is “big” before “beautiful”?

I was reading an English children story to my niece the other day when I came across these phrases said by three different characters: I want a big, beautiful hat! I want a big, ...
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2answers
73 views

Punctuating “waste not, want not”

How do you punctuate a sentence to indicate that the second phrase is contingent on the first, e.g. Waste not, want not? You could read this typical punctuation as meaning "waste not and want not" ...
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3answers
1k views

Do I need a comma before “particularly”?

Do I need a comma before "particularly" in the case below? Thank you very much for your help! Vitamin D has properties against metabolic, neoplastic, and immune disorders particularly breast ...
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2answers
36 views

Comma before “and” in “alleging harassment, and retaliation, which has now been…”

Please be advised that the clerks Intake Specialist Unit is in receipt of the complaint you filed against Maple Lee alleging harassment, and retaliation, which has now been assigned Intake ...
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0answers
49 views

Possessive of name? [duplicate]

He was a friend of Mike. He was a friend of Mike’s. Which one is correct, and why? Thank you.
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1answer
95 views

Punctuation of possessive quotations

I believe that these five sentences may be correctly punctuated. Do you agree? I'm using quotes around the movie title (as The New Yorker does) instead of italics. Although it may be ugly, I’m banking ...
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4answers
2k views

Is there supposed to be a comma when the word “had” is used 4 times in a row?

There's a particular sentence which I've been pondering over: All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life. Some people seem to think there's supposed to be a comma ...
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2answers
47 views

Punctuation for quote reversal

Is there any punctuation--obviously not standard--for when you rearrange a quotation? It would be similar to an ellipsis, but indicate movement rather than elision. For example, you are given the ...
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3answers
2k views

Should you use a comma before the “Inc.” in a company name?

Should you use a comma before the "Inc." in a company name? Xona Games, Inc. vs. Xona Games Inc. (in this example, this is the official registration format) ?
4
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3answers
78 views

Punctuation of a dependent clause for strong emphasis

Which of the sentences below is correct if I want to strongly emphasize that the pencil is not is not white? This is a black instead of a white pencil. This is a black, instead of a white, ...
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1answer
59 views

What does “in the east” mean here?

I just read this sentence "when the wind was in the east a smell came across the harbour" from the Ernest Hemingway's novel The Old Man And The Sea: Two questions: What does "in" the wind mean? ...
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0answers
46 views

Punctuation with Abbreviations [duplicate]

How would punctuation be used in a sentence ending with an abbreviation? Example: I live in the U.S.. Do you live in the U.S.? We all live in the U.S.!
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2answers
109 views

Comma and dash introducing a list

Is it right to put a comma before the dash that introduces a series? As the mentor of the original five interns, — Meredith, Cristina, Alex, the runaway Izzie, and the now dead George — Dr. ...
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1answer
333 views

“You are right; I'm sorry” — semicolon or comma?

You are right; I'm sorry. You are right, I'm sorry. Do we use the semicolon or comma? A full stop works. Two independent clauses so perhaps the semicolon should be used.
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1answer
109 views

Proper term for “ending punctuation”?

Proper English sentences can end with various types of punctuation characters: periods ("."), question-marks ("?"), exclamations ("!"), etc. Is there a proper terminology for these kinds of ...
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1answer
378 views

A trail of colons

I find I often, when writing, want to string colons together. Here is a recent example: These two moments would be likely candidates for retelling: they both connect the people of San Andrés ...
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1answer
69 views

Is this a signature or a sentence that requires punctuation?

Is a period needed at the closing of a greeting card that reads: "Happy holidays from John Smith and the Smith Realty family"?
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1answer
143 views

Comma after introductory discourse marker

When beginning a sentence with "well", do you put a comma after it? Well, you know I was wrong. Well you know I was wrong.
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1answer
72 views

Treatment of Designation and Title in Text

I work at a company that publishes standards. These publications have a designation and a title. For example, the designation might be "Standard 100." The title might be something like "Machines ...
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2answers
50 views

Should the clauses in these two senses be joined?

In reading the contents of a card, I have come across the following doubt regarding joining the two clauses with a semi colon or keeping them as two separate sentences. The phrase is the following: ...
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5answers
1k views

How do you punctuate a list of titles and names?

I want to write a sentence that has a list of descriptive terms and then names, but I'm unclear as to how to do it... Herman my brother, George my nephew and I went to the market. If I put ...
2
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2answers
399 views

Are commas considered superfluous in legal documents?

I'm in the process of purchasing a house and reading through the contract, I can't find a single instance of the comma. (As if legalese wasn't hard enough to read already!) This includes the ...
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0answers
10 views

Should a colon be used in this sentence? [duplicate]

I hope that I gain skills in three areas: critical thinking, writing, and collaboration. I am looking to see if the colon should be used in this sentence at all.
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1answer
87 views

Assigning a name in parentheses - do authorities consider it kosher?

I have often seen constructions like, Your best friend(Jim) called today. Six hundred square feet of space on the second floor of 921 County Lane, corresponding to the area shown crosshatched in ...
2
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0answers
68 views

Am I using the semicolon correctly? [duplicate]

Is this sentence correct? I've never been to Toronto before; do you get the opportunity to visit Montreal often?
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2answers
214 views

Is a comma followed by 'and' grammatically correct?

Is a comma followed by 'and' grammatically correct? For example: This Agreement, and any and all disputes directly or indirectly arising...
4
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1answer
4k views

What is the abbreviation for 'century'?

I remember being taught in history classes to abbreviate century by writing a large capital C followed by the ordinal number as in: C18th without the full-stop (period). Recently I have noticed on ...
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1answer
362 views

Punctuation of reported speech within direct speech

I've got a fiction 'speech within speech' situation, and I'd like opinions on how to handle the internal final punctuation -- inside or outside the quotes. This is British English. Example: The ...
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1answer
104 views

Correct usage of commas and semicolons [closed]

I am writing an essay to attempt help my friends be themselves and stop worrying about what everyone thinks of them. I am trying to make sure I use punctuation correctly. And I was wondering if I'm ...
2
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1answer
143 views

Why do people use “…” in emails after people's names? For example, “Mike… ”

What does this "..." mean in emails? For example, "Mike...You are always welcome to come to our social event."