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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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 ...
170
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15answers
21k views

How many spaces should come after a period/full stop?

In the past — or at least, when I was in elementary school — periods/full stops were followed by two spaces. Lately, it's become more and more common to see just one space. In the modern ...
89
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1answer
58k views

When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?

I generally know how to use a hyphen, but when should I use an en-dash instead of an em-dash, or when should I use a hyphen instead of an em-dash?
82
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15answers
42k views

Should I put a comma before the last item in a list?

Should I put a comma before last item in list? I would like crackers, cheese and some soda. I would like crackers, cheese, and some soda.
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8answers
6k views

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses?

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses (for example, if I (meaning myself) write like this)?
50
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2answers
21k views

What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in “‑s”?

What is the possessive of a noun ending in ‑s? Are these both right, or is the second one wrong? the boys' books the boss' car
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14answers
2k views

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 ...
46
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6answers
9k views

When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word?

Some words are written without hyphens (nonaggression, nonbeliever), and some words are written with a hyphen (well-intentioned). Is there a schema in the use of a hyphen?
45
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4answers
37k views

Why does the multi-paragraph quotation rule exist?

The answer to this question clearly explains the standard rule that when you have multiple quoted paragraphs, each new paragraph starts with an opening quotation mark, but only the final quoted ...
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10answers
33k views

Is there a standard ordering for the question mark and the exclamation mark used together?

We've all wanted to express certain questions, rhetorical or not, with annoyance, excitement, surprise, frustration and so on. What better way than with both a question mark (?) and an exclamation ...
36
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6answers
3k views

“For all it's worth” or “for all its worth”?

Should I put an apostrophe in "for all its worth"? The meaning comes to about the same thing either way, as far as I can make out, and it seems like "it's" is more popular. But is there an accepted ...
34
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5answers
18k views

Should I use a semicolon or a dash to connect two closely related sentences?

When you want to connect two closely related sentences, you can use a semicolon or a dash. (You can also use a dash for other kinds of non-sentential relations). How would you choose whether to use a ...
31
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2answers
5k 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 ...
30
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7answers
63k views

Should I always use a comma after “e.g.” or “i.e.”?

It seems that "e.g." is always followed by a comma but "i.e." is not. Why is that?
28
votes
13answers
9k views

Can a word be contracted twice (e.g. “I'ven't”)?

I've seen a contraction of two words. I can't see why it wouldn't be possible to contract twice. Is it possible and how should it be punctuated? Update: Ok, to sum up the answers so far This ...
27
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6answers
16k views

Is it ever acceptable for a period to come after a quote at the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “punctuation outside of the quotations”, or “inside?” I've heard that you should always place ending punctuation inside of quotes, no matter what. ...
26
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6answers
2k views

How does one correctly use a semicolon?

How does one correctly use a semicolon? It is probably one of the more difficult punctuation marks to master in my opinion.
25
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6answers
2k views

Punctuating question tags: A question mark is always required, isn't it. (Well, isn't it?)

Consider the sentence: You didn't leave the dog in the car, did you? In spoken English, this statement may be spoken with a rising intonation or a falling one. If the former, it suggests that ...
25
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3answers
2k views

How should I punctuate around quotes?

The American convention in quotations is (typically) to place punctuation inside quoted text. But I always run into situations where the punctuation of the quote interferes with the punctuation of the ...
25
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3answers
56k views

What's the difference between using single and double quotation marks/inverted commas?

I'm quite unsure regarding the usage of single quotation marks (') and double quotation marks (") in English. I had thought that double quotation marks were usually used to quote sentences from ...
23
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4answers
4k views

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 ...
23
votes
1answer
21k views

Do you capitalize both parts of a hyphenated word in a title?

Do you capitalize both parts of a hyphenated word in a title? "My Ex-Wife Hates Me" or "My Ex-wife Hates Me"
21
votes
5answers
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Should there always be a comma after “therefore”,“However” etc.?

Should you always type a comma after "therefore","however" etc. in the beginning of a sentence? Also, when these (and similar) words are used in the middle of a sentence, should there be a comma or ...
21
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6answers
11k views

Appropriate dash to use when attributing a quotation?

If I’m citing a poem or quotation, what kind of dash precedes the author’s name? Example: This Business of Printing; which I am heartily tired of, and repent I e’er attempted. . . .           ...
20
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7answers
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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 ...
20
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9answers
44k views

Using a comma before “but”

I was once told by an English professor that a comma should never be used before but in a sentence. For years, I have followed her advice but sometimes I just feel like it just needs to be there. On ...
20
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5answers
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“Do's” and “don'ts” or “do's” and “don't's”?

I am making a list to my children telling them what are some of the things they should do and shouldn't. Under one side is "do", and the other is "don't". Would I write "do's" and "don't's"? Cause ...
20
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4answers
21k 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 ...
19
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1answer
12k 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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2answers
2k views

Really nice, Mat

I see a lot of people saying things such as Nice work, Nick Or Thanks, Mat Is the comma really needed? I'm not 100% sure because my spelling and grammar is not great, but I think it reads ...
18
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5answers
10k views

Punctuation around abbreviations

I always stumble when using abbreviations in a sentence, as they inherently contain a period in them. How do I use a comma or a semicolon after an abbreviation? How about a period? E.g. (This is an ...
18
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2answers
17k views

Should you use a comma/period after “Thanks”/“Regards” in email signatures?

Normal practice is to end emails with a Thanks or Regards. My question is should there be a comma or a period or nothing after Thanks/Regards? Thanks, John Doe Or Thanks. John ...
17
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7answers
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Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter?

Sometimes I see a comma after the proper name: Hello Mr. Black, In order to give you.... But my native language is not English and I think that the comma in this phrase should be placed ...
17
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3answers
772 views

You don't want to answer this word-placement question, now do you?

Prompted by this question I got to thinking about the placement of the word now. If it's placed before the comma, it refers to an immediate condition: You don't want to answer this word-placement ...
17
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5answers
1k 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 ...
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 ...
17
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5answers
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Why is the unit of measure placed before the value for currencies? Are there other measures where the unit precedes value?

$1,000 is pronounced as "one thousand dollars". Reading from left to right, it seems like it would make more sense to write the value as: 1,000$. This way the pronunciation of the value follows the ...
16
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5answers
2k views

What do you do when a sentence ends with a decimal?

In a sentence like "The answer is 0.8." the period looks awkward after "0.8". Is there a rule for a situation like this? Sometimes I put a space before the period like this: "The answer is 0.8 ." ...
16
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5answers
14k views

How do I emphasize a word using the standard punctuation system?

I've seen people on the Internet stressing a certain word using "*": I do not *like* it, I *love* it! I think there is no such punctuation as "*". So I'm wondering if I can use some other way to ...
15
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10answers
2k views

Why is the sentence “She sighed, and began whispering again” grammatically incorrect?

That's a line from a Twilight book. It's a grammar mistake pointed out by this website. She sighed, and began whispering again. I don't see anything wrong with it. Is the comma the mistake?
15
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8answers
11k views

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. ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Meaning of “My friend, who lives in Paris, is a teacher” with and without commas

Can anyone help me understand the difference in meaning between these two sentences? My friend who lives in Paris is a teacher. My friend, who lives in Paris, is a teacher. To me it ...
15
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3answers
3k views

How does one correctly punctuate a sentence that declares that one has a question? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Punctuation with “The question is…” '.', '?' or ' “… ?” ' Position of question mark when sentence doesn't end ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Any reference on the usage of a backtick and single quotation mark like `this'?

Why do I sometimes see a backtick with a single quote `like this'? What's the name of this usage? What are some good references so I can find more information by myself?
15
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1answer
1k views

What is this symbol called: “¶” [closed]

I'm trying to find out what this symbol means and if it has a name: ¶ I've seen it being used in word processors.
15
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4answers
12k views

Is it appropriate to put a comma before “which”?

On Server Fault, we were discussing this question in chat. There are non-native speakers in the chat and somehow we got on the topic of grammar and proper use of commas. The sentence of interest: ...
15
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2answers
722 views

What is the correct spelling of “buyer* remorse”?

Apostrophical query: a) Buyers Remorse b) Buyer Remorse c) Buyer's Remorse d) Buyers' Remorse My guess is b or c, as it seems like any example is talking about the remorse of one specific buyer, ...
15
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5answers
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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 ...
15
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2answers
31k views

In what cases should I use a comma after “please”?

As far as I can see from different texts, there seems to be no strict rule about putting comma after "Please" when it is used as an introduction to a request. Am I right? In what cases using comma ...
15
votes
2answers
881 views

How to connect a word and a phrase with a hyphen?

For example, "file system" and "related". Is it "file system-related"? It will appear as if it is a compound of "file" and "system-related", won't it?