ColonsTo the left of the colon, you must have acomplete sentence/independent clause. I need to purchase the following items: parsnips;carrots; bread, both rye and wheat; and lettuce.Don‟t put a colon if there‟s a verb to theimmediate left because that guarantees thatyou don‟t have a sentence to the left. INCORRECT: I need to purchase: INCORRECT: My favorites are:
SEMIcolonsTo the left and right of the semicolon, you musthave complete sentences/independent clauses. My son, Samuel, is an amazing mathematician;however, I am terrible at math. My son, Samuel, is an amazing mathematician; Iam terrible at math.Use semicolons to separate items in a series ifeven one item has a comma. I need to purchase the following items: parsnips;carrots; bread, both rye and wheat; and lettuce.
Commas in a seriesEx. Jack bought a cute and fluffy and sweetpuppy.Jack bought a cute, fluffy and sweet puppy.BUT . . .Jack bought a seven-month-old puppy.(The puppy is not seven, and month and old.)
Commas with non-restrictiveelementsEx. Patricia Garza, my accountant, is onvacation.(“My accountant” is not necessary to clarifyingwho Patricia Garza is. “Patricia Garza” issufficiently specific. )Ex. My oldest sister, Susan, is my best friend.(“Susan” is not necessary to clarifying who myoldest sister is. I can only have one oldestsister.)
Commas with restrictiveelementsEx. Accountants who rob their clients should notbe able to go on vacation.(“who rob their clients” IS necessary to clarifyingwhich accountants we‟re discussing. Not ALLaccountants, but rather only those who rob theirclients. We cannot frame this clause withcommas.)Ex. Sisters in the Effinger family are often bestfriends.(“In my family” IS necessary to clarifying whichsisters we‟re discussing. Not ALL sisters.)
Commas with CITY AND STATEEx. I am from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, wheremy family still lives.(Place a comma after the city AND the state.)
Commas with introductory phrases/clausesEx. When our taxes are due, we have to file ourreturns.(“When our taxes are due” is an introductoryclause that needs to be set off from the mainsentence (subj: “we” and verb “have.”)(“When our taxes are due” is a dependentclause, and “we have to file our returns” is anindependent clause, so DC, IC.)
Commas when joining two complete sentences with a coordinatingconjunctionCoordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, oryet, so (FANBOYS)Ex. Our taxes are due, so we have to file ourreturns.Ex. Our taxes are due, and we have to file ourreturns.
apostrophesEx. The children‟s toys are not exclusively boys‟toys or girls‟ toys, but they are everyone‟s toys. The toys of the children = children‟s toys The toys of the boys = boys‟ toys The toys of the girls = girls‟ toys The toys of everyone = everyone‟s toys
Quotation marksQuestion marks and exclamation marks go inside &outside quotation marks, depending on the context. Joe asked, “Where are the flowers?” Where are the “rug rats”?Periods and commas go inside quotation marks.Always. According to Smith, “we should „wear our notions ofidentity lightly.‟” “You are not the baby‟s father,” Felicia said, “nor am I thebaby‟s mother.”Semicolons and colons go outside quotation marks.Always. My grandmother always said, “success depends on hardwork”; “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”;and “stop whining and get to work.”
HyphensHyphenate compound adjectives—adjectivesyou have built by joining two or more words. Joe bought a seven-month-old puppy. Joe bought a six- to seven-month-old puppy. The task must be done by him- or herself.Do not hyphenate adverbs modifying adjectives. The clothing we donated was lightly worn.Hyphenate numbers between twenty-one andninety-nine. Next Thursday, my grandmother will be eighty-nine.For an eighty-nine-year-old woman, she is quitespry.
DashesDashes are used to set off parentheticals. Assuch, they usually come in pairs. I love writers—Hemingway and Faulkner, amongothers—because their work brings me suchpleasure.Do not include the second dash if the sentenceends where the second dash would go. I love writers—Hemingway and Faulkner, amongothers.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#1: Dogs who do not have their up-to-date shotsshould not be allowed in the dog park and theirowner(s) should be fined.A.Place a comma after "dogs."B.Remove the hyphens in "up-to-date."C.Place a comma after "park."D.Correct as written.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#2: Dr. Wilson was born in Oklahoma City,Oklahoma, on a dark and stormy night, but she nowlives in San Marcos, Texas, where "the sun alwaysshines, and everyone is happy".A.Remove the commas after "Oklahoma" and"Texas."B.Insert a comma after "dark."C.Place the period inside the quotation mark.D.Correct as written.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#3: Betsy Roof, painter extraordinaire, hasproduced her greatest masterpiece to date: aseascape featuring dolphins, whales, andmanatees, all frolicking together--like childrenplaying--in the moonlight.A.Remove the colon after "date."B.Replace the commas after dolphins, whales, andmanatees with semicolons.C.Replace the dashes with comma.D.CORRECT AS WRITTEN.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#4: Despite the delay due to bad weather, thevolunteers from San Marcos, Texas, finallydelivered to the victims of the Moore tornado adonation of lightly used childrens toys, to which thechildren exclaimed, "Thank you, Texas"!A.Hyphenate "lightly used."B."Childrens" should be "childrens."C.The exclamation point should go inside thequotation mark.D.Correct as written
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#5: Whenever I am writing five long papers for mycourses, I wish professors who require twenty-five-page papers could be required to write their own;however taxing that may be.A.Place commas after "professors" and "papers.”B.Remove the hyphen between "five" and "page.”C.Remove the semicolon.D.Correct as written.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#6: My mother-in-law Charlene, is coming for a visiton July 4, 2013, but no one in my household,except me, will be there, so I, and I alone, mustnow think of fun activities that do not require goingoutside, spending money, or eating spicy food.A.Place a comma after "law.”B.Remove the comma after "2013.”C.Remove the comma after "there.”D.Correct as written.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#7: At the neighborhood party, the wind blew sohard that the ladies hats flew away, the childrenskites broke their lines, and everyones day wasruined.A."Ladies" should be "Ladys”B."Childrens" should be "childrens”C."everyones" should be "everyones”D.Correct as written
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#8: Even in the twenty-first century, some peoplecontinue to own old, outdated and fuel guzzlingcars that pollute the air, waste fuel and wastemoney, but these idiots do not seem to care; I,however, find their actions reprehensible.A.Place a hyphen between "first" and "century.”B.there should be a hyphen between "fuel" and"guzzling.”C.The semicolon after "care" should be a period.D.Correct as written.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#9: The requirements for becoming a member ofthe Kiwanas are: payment of the $200 dues, whichis reduced to $150 after a five-year membership;attendance at the orientation that is alwaysscheduled for the first week of August; and arecommendation from another Kiwana.A.Remove the colon after "are.”B.Replace the semicolons with commas.C.Place a comma after "orientation.”D.Correct as written.
PUNCTUATION QUIZ#10: Wrestlers, who bite their opponents, shouldbe fined; however, the sport, as well as thewrestlers themselves, is so popular that no oneenforces the rules, and the violence continues.A.Remove the comma after "wrestlers.”B.Remove the commas after "wrestlers" and"opponents.”C.Replace the semicolon with a comma.D.Correct as written.