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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Conflicting Advice: “Not Only,” “But Also” Constructions — Comma, No Comma, Parallel Structure?

I've searched for the answer on this site and other websites, and found conflicting advice and sample sentences that look wrong to me. I'm posting this question hoping for clarification. My ...
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164 views

use of full stop at the end of incomplete sentence fragment?

Fifty one thousand square miles area. A hundred and fifty six million people. A thousand dollars or less average annual earning per person. Is it ok to use these full stops at the end of these ...
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21 views

How should I punctuate this sentence?

During the interview, I asked Ms. Smith what geared her towards teaching students with special needs.
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1answer
95 views

Singularity and Plurality of The Terms “God,” “god,” and “gods”

I've been studying some of the books of the English versions of the Bible, and have discovered how their uses of the terms, "God," "god," and "gods" should seem slightly perplexing to English readers ...
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1answer
42 views

introducing, picking up, or influencing the lifespan of [,] discourse referents (last comma necessary?)

Is this comma (last one of the phrase in the bold) mistakenly left in? I don't think it is needed there because the last element of the parallel structure is 'influencing the lifespan of discourse ...
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160 views

Separating dependent clauses and introductory phrases with commas in compound and complex-compound sentences

I know that you are supposed to separate dependent clauses and introductory phrases with a comma if they start the sentence. Examples: If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor. (dependent clause) ...
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40 views

Should one enclose variable names in commata?

In scientific writing, when should one enclose variable names in commas? Take the following example sentences: 1a) "For a set of pixels S, two pixels p and q from S are said to be connected if ...
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30 views

Should questions phrased as declarations end with a question mark?

Should a question masquerading as a declaration—like, "I wonder if you have any suggestions?"—end with a question mark or a period?
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18 views

Is there data on the frequency of occurrence of the greengrocer's apostrophe?

I've heard words such as 'ubiquitous' used to describe how prolific the presence of the greengrocer's apostrophe is, but is there any actual data available on how prolific it is in everyday life ( ...
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27 views

Do you agree with my interpretation of CMOS 16's section on phrasal adjectives?

Chicago 16 says this: “If more than one phrasal adjective modifies a single noun, hyphenation becomes especially important {nineteenth-century song-and-dance numbers} {state-inspected assisted-living ...
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46 views

What to call a brief sentence that comes before/after the main clause with only a comma

Here is my passage. I believe I'm doing it right, but I'm not sure why. Does this have a specific name? It doesn't seem like an interjection to me, so I'm not sure why I'm so comfortable using a ...
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26 views

Inverted commas or italics when you mouth something

I am wondering if it is better to use inverted commas or italics when you mouth something, rather than say it aloud. E.g. I cover the receiver and mouth Sorry to my friend. Or is it better to go ...
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30 views

Is it direct speech?

I have a question regarding the sentence below. If you say “I hate grammar,” you mean “I have a lot of difficulties with understanding rules how to use words correctly.” Is it direct speech ...
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9 views

Em dash and quotes

While I toss up between the em dash and the en dash, I am consistent throughout one document. However, one thing I have noticed when using the em dash is that when I write something like: Firstly, ...
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25 views

Hyphenation of words like ‘waterproof’

The Oxford dictionary states that most compound adjectives made from a noun and an adjective should be hyphenated (e.g. ‘accident-prone’, ‘camera-ready’). On the other hand, its entry for the word ...
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42 views

How do I combine two short statements (both two words long) into one so that it is grammatically correct?

For example... 1) "Lift heavy." 2) "Sleep well." I need to make one, four-word statement by combining these two. I would be looking to combine them to produce something like this... "Lift ...
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35 views

Who is the “owners wife's account”?

Can someone comment on what this is technically saying? ....“send the transfer directly to the owners wife's account.” Is the wife the owner in this sentence or is the owner an owner who ...
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40 views

Is there a name for the technique of changing the meaning of a word using a comma?

A reader inquired about the name of the effect that I used to illustrate the meaning in the sentence below: Doing nothing repetitively is doing nothing, repetitively. Is there a name for the way ...
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43 views

Period after Dear Firstname

I just received an email beginning "Dear Firstname."—should I be interpreting this valediction in any other way than a typo?
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34 views

Square brackets spanning multiple words

I'm familiar with the practice of using square brackets to replace part of a quote, such as altering a pronoun to make it fit in context. I am, however, unclear on the proper use given an altered ...
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17 views

Is there a common rule for punctuation or is it contextual?

The comma, with words like but or since- is it placed before or after these words? Is there a particular template to follow or is it contextual?
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16 views

Is it “first-degree-murder charges” or “first-degree murder charges”?

Is it "first-degree-murder charges" or "first-degree murder charges"? Is " first-degree-murder" bundled together to modify "charges"? Or is "first-degree" bundled together to modify "murder ...
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26 views

Should I quote this like a word or a quotation?

When quoting a word, you don't need the extra capitalization or comma that comes with quoting speech. For example, She says "vacation" is a word for going away and never coming back. I need some ...
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22 views

commas and 'or' going together in a list

a. They did things that were odd, rude or illegal. b. They did things that were odd, rude**, or** illegal. Which of the above means: They did things that were either odd, or rude or illegal. (some ...
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20 views

Italicizing multiword phrasal adjectives

Can we italicize (instead of hyphenate) long phrasal adjectives as shown below? Instead of: She’s a live-and-let-live kind of girl. This as an alternative? She’s a live and let live kind of girl. ...
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66 views

Obscure sentence

I'd like to know if the following sentence is grammatically correct: Deep perineal pouch is related above to perineal membrane. I'd like to know what is the correct meaning the sentence implies ...
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26 views

Should there be a comma before if in this sentence: is if a restrictive element?

"Smallpox may be transmitted by the air in enclosed settings such as buildings, buses, and trains if it carries the virus."
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59 views

How should one punctuate a bulleted list in the middle of a sentence, not at the end?

There have been many posts about the proper way to punctuate bulleted lists, but I have not found any that specifically deal with how to punctuate such lists when they appear within a sentence instead ...
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27 views

Understanding these quotation marks

Eggleston’s appearance coincides with a moment when courts and Republicans have heightened their criticisms of White House legal actions. Eggleston’s appearance put him in the rare position of ...
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74 views

Ellipsis in a title

When an ellipsis is used in a title such as 'How to love your dog... A kid's Guide to dog care, is it just used for suspense or is there a grammatical reason which I haven't found out yet? Trying to ...
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33 views

Apostrophes on house signs

I see signs in front of houses like "The Johnson's" or "The Wilson's". Can that be correct?
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26 views

Punctuation for a list of adjectives or adverbs

Imagine I a have a sentence structure similar to the one below. The boy remained silent—thinking, brooding, plotting his next move. If I didn't want to use an emdash would a comma be okay? I'm ...
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28 views

Is a comma needed in this construction “who are practically … they're so …”?

The sentence I'm looking at is this: "I pass by two females who are practically leaking sulfur they're so full of demons." I'm thinking that a comma should be inserted between sulfur and they're ...
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251 views

Use of commas when writing date range in a sentence

Should there be commas after 2014 in the following sentence: "From June 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015, there were 40 accidents on one stretch of road."?
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29 views

I like X, from the … ,to the … . punctuation help

If I were to make a statement that describes attributes of something across a range such as: What I find great about apples are the variety of colours, from the sweet red ones, to the sour green ...
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33 views

Comma after “Using this” and “For this case”

I am a bit confused about using (or not) the comma in the following sentences: Using Lemma 1, we can claim that... For/in the first case, we can use... Please I need to understand the rule ...
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57 views

Ending a sentence with abbreviation and ellipses

When using an abbreviation at the end of a sentence, such as "etc." and a ellipses, would you use three or four periods?
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51 views

Colon or dash as a separator in a headline

I’m creating a headline (for my online digest), and I’m wondering if I should use a dash Web Animations API - grouping and sequencing animations or a colon Web Animations API: grouping and ...
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31 views

Page/paragraph references within quotations

I work as a proofreader in a patent firm and am struggling to find a concrete answer to a punctuation problem I see almost every day. It's probably not a situation that pops up commonly in regular ...
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42 views

How do I deliver multiple paragraphs into one line?

I have a message that spans on multiple paragraphs but the medium I'm using allows for only one line. Is there an official way to do this? I've seen some people use a single slash (with spaces around ...
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89 views

Semicolon or Comma? SAT Practice

Walker was not only a trailblazer in the medical field; she was also a relentless visionary. Or Walker was not only a trailblazer in the medical field, she was also a relentless visionary.
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105 views

Using colon, list and parentheses

This is an interesting structure: it has a colon, it's a list, and it boasts parentheses too. But I have doubts about the structure; is the second sentence below grammatically right? Do you have ...
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34 views

By … we … punctuation

Is this introductory clause qualifying the rest of the sentence, such that it would require a comma, or is it simply introductory, such that it would not. I'm a bit confused about what the rule ...
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258 views

How do I write a question that sounds like a statement?

Forgive me if the title is unclear. I am trying to understand how to write two questions, but with the latter question sounding like a statement. Examples: a) Should I go with option A, or ...
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40 views

Jack London's punctuation choice of periods instead of semi-colons

The sled was without runners. It was made of stout birch-bark, and its full surface rested on the snow. The front end of the sled was turned up, like a scroll, in order to force down and ...
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77 views

Semicolon usage: is this usage appropriate?

Is this usage of a semicolon grammatical? I understand that it's used to separate two clauses in a sentence, but am uncertain on the validity of its usage in this scenario Sound can be represented ...
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89 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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88 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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138 views

Is the usage of this semicolon correct? Should I replace it with a colon or dash?

I am getting ready to have my first tattoo and, as a fairly strict grammarian, I want to make sure that I get it right. I plan for the tattoo to look like the following, but I'm not totally sure about ...
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123 views

double punctuation marks: one inside parenthesis and one outside

I don't seem to be able to find the answer I'm after so here is my question. Can I make a sentence and at the end of the sentence make a a startling comment in parenthesis ending with an exclamation ...