Punctuation lecture

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Guide to punctuation as a tool rather than as a set of rules--based off of William Strunk's Elements of Style.

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  • Punctuation rules are sometimes weird, often artificial, and occasionally contradictory. Punctuation, as a rule-based system, was imposed on language later ; that is why it has rules in the first place. Generally, we in the Modern/Postmodern Era prefer an open (sparse, flexible) system with fewer marks and clearer text.
  • So what do commas do?
  • Diana Hacker’s list. To explain “groups of adjectives”: Two phrases: A deceptive red herring and A deceptive, red herring. The first is a trick; the second is a fish. Why?
  • Punctuate this! And try to state what the punctuation is for.
  • C1: Direct address. C2: Junk in the front (introductory stuff/nonrestrictive appositive). C3&4: Lists. C4 = optional. C5: Junk in the front (transitional words). C6&7: Junk in the middle (nonrestrictive appositive). C8: FANBOYS (Coordinating Conjunction). C9&10: Junk in the middle (parenthetical). Optional, but either use both or none—you can’t just use one. C11: Junk in the front (nonrestrictive appositive). C12&13: Title. These two may be optional, depending on the situation and author. C14: Speech tag. C15: FANBOYS. C16: Lists of adjectives.
  • What do semicolons do?
  • What do colons do?
  • What do em-dashes do?
  • All six of these sentences are grammatically correct. What’s the difference in style, voice, and meaning?
  • Q: What’s the rule? A: For clarity, you sometimes need a hyphen between the words of multi-word adjectives.
  • What do apostrophes do?
  • Note ‘s on Congress’s: this is MLA’s suggestion, and seems counterintuitive at first. Note too in “Weird Plurals” that only the first example, the plurals of letters, is required. The other two are actually better without apostrophes.
  • We know what these do. What do we need to remember? Note: question marks in quotes. If the whole sentence is a question, then put the question mark outside of the quotes. If only the quote is a question, put the mark inside the quotes.
  • What are these?
  • What does this do?
  • It notes that your quote is grammatically, mechanically, or factually incorrect. It’s a way of saying, “My source is wrong.”
  • What’s this called? What does it do?
  • If there’s time… cover this.
  • Punctuation lecture

    1. 1. COMMAS ARE FOR FASCISTS (or, how to tolerate punctuation)
    2. 2. FIRST RULES: <ul><li>Punctuation rules are weird . </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation rules were imposed on a preexisting language practice . </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuation practices change. </li></ul>FIRST RULES
    3. 3. ,
    4. 4. <ul><li>From Strunk: </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinating conjunctions: FANBOYS </li></ul><ul><li>After introductory phrases/clauses: Junk in the Front </li></ul><ul><li>Lists </li></ul><ul><li>Groups of adjectives </li></ul><ul><li>Nonrestrictive clauses, parenthetical phrases, appositives: Junk in the Middle </li></ul><ul><li>Direct address, question tags </li></ul><ul><li>Direct quotations </li></ul><ul><li>Dates, Addresses, Titles </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Folks we’re here to talk commas. Sometimes considered the plague of the punctuation world commas also have friends fans and occasional allies. However that hardly completes the sordid tale. Commas the weakest member of the punctuation gang receive praise for their versatility but many also revile them for their wide variety of usages. Some in fact consider them a bit trampy. Among the comma detractors Philologist Andreas Tartotater Ph.D. stated “I would never leave my young teens alone with commas for that dirty libertine punctuation sows its wild oats with abandon.” </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Folks, we’re here to talk commas. Sometimes considered the plague of the punctuation world, commas also have friends, fans, and occasional allies. However, that hardly completes the sordid tale. Commas, the weakest member of the punctuation gang, receive praise for their versatility, but many also revile them for their wide variety of usages. Some, in fact, consider them a bit trampy. Among the comma detractors, Philologist Andreas Tartotater, PhD, stated, “I would never leave my young teens alone with commas, for that dirty, libertine punctuation sows its wild oats with abandon.” </li></ul>
    7. 7. ;
    8. 8. <ul><li>The semicolon is the ÜBERCOMMA </li></ul><ul><li>It connects two independent clauses without needing “and, for, but,” etc. </li></ul><ul><li>It separates items in complex lists, e.g.: Red, white, and blue, blue, white, and red, and white, blue and red. Red, white, and blue; blue, white, and red; and white, blue, and red. </li></ul>
    9. 9. :
    10. 10. <ul><li>The COLON: </li></ul><ul><li>Promises the completion of something just begun </li></ul><ul><li>Indicates a “step forward” from one clause to the next </li></ul><ul><li>Introduces a list of items </li></ul><ul><li>Formally introduces a quotation </li></ul><ul><li>Formal salutations </li></ul><ul><li>Title: Subtitle </li></ul>
    11. 11.
    12. 12. <ul><li>The em-dash will kill a man faster than look at ‘im. </li></ul><ul><li>Marks off material that needs emphasis . </li></ul><ul><li>Is very loud. </li></ul><ul><li>Sets off parentheticals </li></ul><ul><li>In MS WORD: letter hyphen hyphen letter </li></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>Mantis dating is perilous. The best-case scenario ends in decapitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Mantis dating is perilous, for the best-case scenario ends in decapitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Mantis dating is perilous; the best-case scenario ends in decapitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Mantis dating is perilous: the best-case scenario ends in decapitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Mantis dating is perilous—the best-case scenario ends in decapitation. </li></ul><ul><li>Mantis dating is perilous (the best-case scenario ends in decapitation). </li></ul>
    14. 15. Hyphens: forsaken, heartbroken, abandoned, still useful. <ul><li>A high school dance vs. A high-school dance </li></ul><ul><li>A small business expert vs. A small-business expert </li></ul><ul><li>A real estate salesman vs. A real-estate salesman </li></ul><ul><li>An anti-child abuse center vs. An anti-child-abuse center </li></ul>
    15. 16.
    16. 17. <ul><li>Possession: Congress’s reforms Children’s Hospital Girls’ Bathroom </li></ul><ul><li>Contractions: I’m, you’re, etc. Summer of ’68 </li></ul><ul><li>Weird Plurals: Your p’s and q’s The 1990’s (1990s) PDA’s (PDAs) </li></ul>
    17. 18. ?!
    18. 19. Question Marks and Exclamation Points Used to be Words! <ul><li>Actually, that’s just a theory. </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s true: Quaestio  Qo  ? Io (joy, Latin)  ! </li></ul><ul><li>The question mark has also been ascribed to a cat’s tail, a flipped Greek question mark, a squiggle, and a musical notation. </li></ul><ul><li>You all know what these two do already. </li></ul>
    19. 20. “” ‘’ ( ) [ ] … /
    20. 21. “ ” <ul><li>Direct Quotations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doubles outside, singles inside. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Titles of short works: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Essays, articles, songs, poems, TV episodes, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Words used as words: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The word “moist” is highly disturbing. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 22. [sic]
    22. 24.
    23. 25. <ul><li>If you need to chop out part of a quote </li></ul><ul><li>Not needed at the beginning; not always needed at the end </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget an extra period (a fourth dot) if needed </li></ul>Ellipsis:
    24. 26. The EN-DASH is obscure. <ul><li>But, if you care, it is equivalent to “to” or “versus”. In MS Word, type space-hyphen-space. Really, though, a hyphen works fine. </li></ul><ul><li>The Seattle – Portland line </li></ul><ul><li>The nature – nurture question </li></ul><ul><li>The Obama – Clinton debate </li></ul><ul><li>The Protestant – Catholic divide </li></ul>

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