Our LAST lesson in COM 106 The rest of punctuation and mechanics
Apostrophes Twofunctions: to show possession and omission
Possession - Indicates ownership Add ‘s if noun doesn’t end in “s” or ends in “s” but is singular The bus’s tire was flat. Add only an apostrophe if the noun is plural and ends in “s” The Mills’ home is under construction.
Joint possession – add ‘s to the last noun Carol and Edna’s apartment was broken into. Individual possession – add to each noun. Kim’s and Alex’s daughters played soccer together.
Omission - indicates letters are missing Mistakes: Don’t use apostrophes for plural numbers (The 1940s were a time when . . . .) Don’t use around words to call attention to the word (My dad doesn’t like the word “sucks”.)
Parentheses ( ) Surround supplemental material, afterthoughts, loosely related material. Surround part of the sentence that would mess up the grammatical structure of the sentence Before arriving at the station the old train (someone said it was a relic of frontier days) caught fire.
Dashes - Do the same thing as parentheses but with more emphasis. Also set off appositives that contain commas To some of you, my ideas may seem radical - even revolutionary.
So, when do you use commas, parentheses or dashes? Commas set off information closely related to the rest of the sentence When Billy Clyde married Maybelle, his brother’s young widow, the family was shocked.
Parentheses set off information loosely related to the rest of the sentence or material that would disturb the grammatical structure of the main sentence. Billy Clyde married Maybelle (his fourth marriage, her second) in Las Vegas on Friday. Billy Clyde married Maybelle (she was previously married to his brother Bobby) in Las Vegas on Friday.
Dashes are used to set off information dramatically or emphatically. Billy Clyde eloped with Maybelle – only three days after her husband’s funeral – without saying a word to anyone in the family. So, commas, parentheses and dashes all have a similar function, but have a different level of emphasis in a sentence.
Slash / Used to separate lines of poetry To show a dual role or a choice actor/model producer/director and/or he/she
Uses of quotation marks Direct quotation To indicate irony History is stained with blood spilled in the name of “civilization.” Titles of articles, poems, short stories, songs, etc. Words used as words The word “muffin top” was added to the dictionary in 2010.
Quotation Marks “ “ “Where do I turn?” she asked. Did you hear her say “It’s my fault”?
Ellipsis . . . Deleting words in a quote Deleting a whole line of poetry To communicate hesitation when someone is speaking. Don’t use it just as a pause.
Brackets [ ] Used to alter a quote by adding your own words. Usually to clarify something not evident out of context (pronouns) or make a mixed quotation work with the rest of a sentence (sub-verb agr)
Mechanics Abbreviations Titles - only with proper names Familiar abbreviations - no periods Hyphens Check the dictionary for compound words To avoid confusion (recreation vs. re-creation) Numbers Capitals