Questions tagged [punctuation]

This tag is for questions about punctuation. This encompasses marks such as the period/full stop, comma, dash, and parentheses, used to separate structural units and perform other roles that clarify the meaning. USE THE 'SYMBOLS' tag for currency symbols, accents and so forth.

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Dashes and commas in the same sentence

If the sentence below is written as such, and I am asked to choose the most appropriate punctuation, which of those choices would work the best? In another the back of the square is pivoted, so that ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Should quotes be used here? [closed]

From the examples listed, you may be thinking two things: “supporting local soccer communities seems like the best way to go,” and “what did they achieve?"
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-1 votes
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Is the punctuation correct here? [closed]

The text in question: From the examples listed, you may be thinking two things: “supporting local football communities seems like the best way to go,” and “what did they achieve?”
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Do I capitalise the first letter when describing a character, rather than their name or a pronoun, directly after their speech? [closed]

So is it: "You looking at something?" the black figure grumbled. Or is it: "You looking at something?" The black figure grumbled.
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1 answer
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Use of quotes when wondering

You are probably wondering, “why is this so? Surely the soil is the same wherever you go!” Is this grammatically correct? Or should quotes not be used here?
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1 answer
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Is there a proper/better way to write a serial comma separated list of dates? It feels like I shouldn't be mixing date commas with the serial commas

For example, consider the following sentence: The company mentioned the project in press releases dated September 13, 2020, May 21, 2022, and June 8, 2022. Is that the correct way to write it? It ...
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1 answer
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How would you punctuate a question with an explanatory sentence?

I'm trying to write an article, but I am confused about how to punctuate this question: How about a birthday gift? A little something to show you care. Should it rather be punctuated with an em-dash ...
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1 answer
48 views

Correct comma usage in a list with groups similar items

Just trying to understand how to correctly punctuate a sentence which has several items which are all preceded with the colour red. I have a red apple, red strawberry, red pen and red book. How ...
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3 votes
3 answers
107 views

Unsymmetric Double Emdash

In most cases, the emdash is used symmetrically to add Parenthetical Details. It can also be used unsymmetrically to add Details at the end of a sentence. [[ EDITORIAL COMMENT : This Question is about ...
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2 answers
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Proper punctuation in a sentence with a semicolon

Should this comma be included or omitted? The resources are rich; the lectures, helpful. Alternately, is it better to replace the comma with the word "are"? (I think it sounds better ...
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1 answer
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colon usage before 'not to' [duplicate]

As I understand it, one of the uses of colon is where what succeeds the colon expands on or explains what precedes the colon. (1) The weight of homework from children's shoulders is then taken off: ...
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1 vote
1 answer
120 views

Why isn't there a comma in "Unloose him Frodo!"?

I was rather shocked by the extremely sparse use of commas by Tolkien, but in most cases, it still falls "within reason". However, there is one place (so far) in The Two Towers which just ...
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Where should I place comma? "and thus" [duplicate]

I am a masters student studying wireless communication in Korea. While writing my paper, I have encountered a problem about how to use English punctuation (the inclusion or not of a comma). Can you ...
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13 votes
4 answers
287 views

When did punctuation marks lose their associated spaces?

This is from a 1951 edition of Kipling’s Kim. I’m fascinated by the punctuation conventions used: quotation marks, exclamation and question marks, all with leading spaces; long punctuation dashes ...
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1 answer
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Use of Single Quotation Marks Before Period/Comma/Question Mark/Exclamation Point [closed]

this is request for clarification on the rules for single quotation marks (apostrophe symbol on keyboard) in novels. My understanding is that single quotation marks, when used to indicate a quote ...
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0 answers
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Why there is a comma before “and” in a simple sentence of two clauses? [duplicate]

Loretta studied very hard for the test, and she felt confident that she would pass. This is a simple sentence connected with a coordinating conjunction. There should not be a comma because we add a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to punctuate "No really" correctly

I want to write a sentence such as this. "No really, that is how it actually works." I've searched online and found at least 4 different ways people punctuate "no really" in such a ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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Capitalisation of a sacred object

I'm working in an Indigenous Australian context in which particular sacred trees and animals are capitalised. I'm aware that the specific name of the tree, for example, needs to be capitalised but ...
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1 answer
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How to write a list of items, where the last item is a compound item? [duplicate]

I have a sentence that contains a list of items, and the last item in the list contains an "and" (e.g. like a pet shop may sell "hampsters" and "cat and dog beds", but ...
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0 answers
31 views

Should I use a comma or a semi-colon in this situation? Why?

The sentence I am considering is: "The parties hereby agree to promptly complete all filings required to be filed under applicable law[, / ;] such filings to be completed in substantially the ...
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0 answers
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does this sentence have too many commas?

I am currently writing my first paper in the field of computer science and having written the following sentence I wondered if there would be any missing commas "Then after a method has been ...
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3 votes
1 answer
142 views

comma usage question: a New Yorker example

Spoon had a scheduled appearance the next day on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” and another after that at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I came upon this sentence in The New Yorker, and based on ...
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If a written line of poetry ends ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ a punctuation mark and the next line starts with “and”, is this considered an enjambment?

In the poem “Planetarium” by Adrienne Rich, there are the following lines: of a woman trying to translate pulsations into images for the relief of the body and the reconstruction of the mind. The ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Use of pos­ses­sive apos­tro­phe with the sec­ond word of a com­pound proper noun like “Aus­tralian States”

I have a rel­a­tively sim­ple ques­tion, but I am just a lit­tle con­fused and po­ten­tially mis­in­formed. My un­der­stand­ing is that when plu­ral­is­ing a pos­ses­sive noun, you add an apos­tro­phe ...
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Does a phrase like "close to or within X" require commas to set off the "or within"? [duplicate]

If I were to say something like: close to or within X does it need to be written: close to, or within, X I encounter this type of construction in lot in scientific writing and I'm never sure if it ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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Using a colon and em dash in informal writing

I was wondering if the placement of the colon and dash in the following sentence is correct: I can't thank you enough for all you have done for me: paying my rent, taking me shopping, giving me rides ...
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0 answers
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Can I end a quote/dialogue with a colon?

If a character is introducing something, say, a PowerPoint presentation, how should I punctuate their speech? Can I use a colon? For example: "We have proof. Just take a look at this:" He ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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How to use commas around 'well'

In the sentence: "He needs it to, well, do it" as if spoken words, are the commas correct? I'm trying to break up the sentence as you would when speaking, but I'm not sure if I only need the ...
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3 answers
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"The box contains, at most, one marble." Can the box contain no marbles?

Does the sentence "The box contains, at most, one marble." apply if the box contains no marbles?
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Comma to denote additional information that comes toward the end of a sentence and begins with a "-ing" word--is this a real comma rule?

Say I have the following sentence: The RES can be sprayed onto the burn wound, covering an area up to 80 times the size of the biopsy site. I have a few questions. 1.) Most importantly, the comma. ...
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0 answers
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Can you really start new sentences with a lower-case letter like this? [duplicate]

From The Hobbit, first chapter: “Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!” he said aloud. “Why don’t they come and lend a hand?” Lo and behold! there stood Balin and Dwalin at the door of the kitchen,...
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4 votes
1 answer
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A question regarding how to write characters doing actions during sentences

I have a conundrum regarding how to write a sentence break. Specifically, a character is saying something, and, in the middle of their saying that thing, they carry out an action. What combination of ...
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12 votes
3 answers
6k views

What did Tolkien mean by this awkward sentence structure?

In the first chapter of The Hobbit, I just read this: “Thank you!” said Bilbo with a gasp. It was not the correct thing to say, but they have begun to arrive had flustered him badly. He liked ...
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0 votes
0 answers
14 views

How would dialogue be punctuated and capitalised in the middle of a sentence?

I've seen multiple authors use multiple methods for how they punctuate complex dialogue, sort of mid-sentence quotations. Is there a standardised method or is it exceedingly situational? Below I've ...
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0 votes
2 answers
32 views

Using commas in a sentence that interjects "not" and continues with "but"

I have been struggling and googling to get the comma(s) right in the following simple sentence. Wherever I put it, it somehow seems wrong: It's a war, fought not with firepower, but with access to ...
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0 votes
0 answers
28 views

Punctuation with declarative sentence in narration

I have two versions of this sentence: Stop moping and get going! she told herself. Or should it be Stop moping and get going, she told herself! So where do the comma and exclamation point go? This ...
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0 answers
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Punctuating nested quotations

I am editing a novel and I have some questions on how to punctuate nested quotations (or quotations within quotations). Here is the first example: "I kept saying ‘it’s fake’ and ‘he did this’ ...
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What to enclose in square brackets and not?

I use square brackets when I paraphrase, i.e. when I change or add some words to a text I quote. I have noticed an inconsistency in what I enclose in the square brackets and not. Here are two examples....
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1 answer
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Is it acceptable to combine em dashes with parentheses?

Specifically, can I write something like "—(x)—"? For example, I thought x—(which was y)—so z.
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0 answers
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How to separate verbs and adjectives with different prepositions when describing the same noun [duplicate]

Related to this question: When I have a phrase with two verb-plus-preposition combinations, describing the same noun, but requiring different prepositions, how should they be separated? Not at all: &...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Multiple introductory word elements and commas [duplicate]

I am struggling with the punctuation of sentences with multiple introductory elements. Example 1: However, at the current development stage, this feature is not implemented. Example 2: However, in ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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Should there be a comma after an M-dashed, parenthetic phrase [duplicate]

Should there be a comma — is this comma necessary? —, after an M-dashed, parenthetic phrase? And are those spaces necessary, on both sides of the parenthetic phrase? (ignore the '?', but as a third ...
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0 votes
3 answers
136 views

"Given a man walking a dog and a cat,..." [duplicate]

I want to write a sentence that starts similar to Given a man walking a dog and a cat, ... This could be interpreted as "given a man that is walking both a dog and a cat". "given (a ...
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1 vote
1 answer
46 views

How do you properly write a question that contains follow-up questions? [closed]

For example if you were to write a question like: "Is this something that you would be interested in, and if so: when are you be available?" How do you structure the sentence with regards to ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Commas before not? [closed]

I want a vanilla cake this year, not chocolate. If this is punctuated correctly, what exact comma rule are we applying here? Another: I took my little brother to the store with me, not because I ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Could a comma be used after a question mark? [duplicate]

I'm unsure if this is the appropriate community to ask this question, but it is related to punctuation (:-)). I'm currently doing research for a city council in my state, where I and my colleagues are ...
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0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Purpose of comma in context [duplicate]

What is the function of the comma here? Is it to avoid ambiguity? He should send his troops across the river, either in sufficient numbers to overwhelm the opposition forces or (in sufficient numbers)...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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What’s the most practical punctuation for this simple sentence? [closed]

I know this seems rudimentary, but it’s tripping me up for some reason. Yuck. Mushrooms are gross. I feel the period creates to much of a pause and strays too far away from the emphasis I want on ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Is “I have eaten more cake than I am willing to say.” intelligible?

I am an English native who is on a journey of learning English grammar for the first time. Does “I have eaten more cake than I am willing to say.” make sense? I am not 100% sure if the above sentence ...
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0 votes
3 answers
103 views

—Beginning Sentences with a Dash

One thing that has always perplexed me while reading philosophy is the odd use of punctuation. — Namely, the use of em dashes to begin a sentence. I find this most prevalent in Hegel and Wittgenstein ...
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