Commas in a series between
• Separate items in a series with commas.
– Please bring with you to class a pencil, your
notebook, and your textbook.
• Separate two adjectives that describe
the same noun by using a comma.
– The dog’s cold, wet nose felt gross on my
Separate two independent clauses
with coordinating conjunctions
• If a sentence contains two independent
clauses, use a comma before the coordinating
conjunction that separates the two
– and, but , or, nor, for, so, yet
– I plan to travel to Montgomery this weekend, and I
will be attending a play at the Alabama
*No comma needed with short sentences
– We can stop here or we can wait for a while.
Direct addresses, question
tags, and letters
– By the way, Sarah, you do have your book,
– Dear Samantha,
Set off introductory phrases and clauses,
antithetical phrases, and long
Introductory: If you need tutoring, make an appointment.
Mild Interjection: Well, I guess I can make an exception.
Adjective clause: The bride, who is a chemist, looked lovely.
Appositive phrase: The parade, the longest I’ve ever seen,
featured twelve bands.
Set off introductory phrases and clauses,
antithetical phrases, and long prepositional
Adverbial clause: After we had eaten, I realized my
wallet was in the car.
Participial phrase: Laughing heartily, Milan quickly
left the room.
Prepositional phrase: At the buzzer, the ball slid
through the hoop.
Antithetical phrase: I will test your knowledge of the
novel, not the movie, on Friday.
Commas and quotations
• Make sure to put the comma in the
correct place when using quotations:
Correct--“Don’t forget to wait on me in
the parking lot,” said Sarah.
Incorrect— “Oh I won’t”, replied Matt.
Titles, addresses, numbers,
• 1640 Chartwell Avenue, Edina, Minnesota
• September 11, 1982
• On January 2, 2004, Sarah was born in
Montgomery, Alabama, to proud parents.
• Bob Riley, Governor, is serving his last term.
• January 1982 was a memorable year for
Jason. (no comma needed if only month/year,
• Read Slaughterhouse-Five, pages 15–20.
• Perform a scene from Hamlet, Act II.
• Use semicolons to separate two independent clauses
that are closely related in content.
– You must study diligently tonight; your success
depends on it.
• Use semicolons to separate items in a series that
contain commas within the items in a series.
– Today I need to go to the bank and make a deposit, open
a savings account, and discuss my mortgage; go to the
grocery store and pick up milk, bread, and eggs; and call
the phone company to discuss my bill and add a new line.
• Use semicolons between independent clauses joined
by transitional expressions.
– My parents are strict; for example, I can watch TV only
• Colons can be used for many reasons,
two of those being the following:
– To set off a list
• Please be sure to bring the following items to
the tryouts: a physical form, tennis shoes, and
– To separate a word or group of words from
an independent clause in which something
was left unanswered.
• To study effectively, I suggest that you rewrite
the sample sentences leaving out one key
ingredient: the punctuation.
• Use a colon for precise time measurements
– 10:02 A.M.
• biblical chapter and verse references
– John 3:16
• business letter salutations.
– Dear Ms. Delgado:
• To introduce a quote
– You can find this quote on the wall in the locker room:
“Attitude is everything.”
1. Patty likes to act her sister gets stage fright.
2. The night was dark and gloomy the wind moaned over
the treetops, and the coyotes howled all around.
3. The clown wore a long, blue raincoat big, red plastic
gloves and floppy, yellow tennis shoes.
4. Our student council voted to have a Crazy Clothes
Day however, the principal vetoed the idea.
5. You will need to bring the following equipment a
sleeping bag, a warm sweater, and extra socks.
# 1-8, place semicolons and colons
where they are needed
1. My dad put the following quotation on his
desk “Treat others as you would like to be
2. The pastor cited Proverbs 29 11 and 29 22 as
warnings against letting anger take control of
3. Matt was surprised to see Sarah, Jesse,
Mom, Dad, and me we had kept his birthday
party a secret.
4. Emma felt shy however, she soon made some
Bell Ringer, cont.
5. By the time we had finished eating, it was quite late
consequently, everyone else on the beach had gone
6. I have postcards from Paris, France Rome, Italy and
7. While he was in the water, Mom had gathered
driftwood, dug a shallow pit in the sand, and put a
fire in it and Grandma had put shrimp, corn, and
potatoes on the coals.
8. We didn’t leave for home right away instead, we
spent the evening watching the darkening ocean,
listening to the whispering waves, and watching the
stars come out.
Practice # 2, cont.
5. You should arrive by 7 00 in the morning
we do not want to be late.
6. To stay healthy, be sure to do the
following eat right, exercise, and get
7. After school I have to go to the field to
practice drills, run laps, and lift weights go
home and walk the dog, do my homework,
and clean my room go in my room to study,
call my best friend, and finally go to sleep.
Practice # 2, cont.
8. Remember the following quote
“Excellence does not remain alone it is
sure to attract others.”
9. First I had a snack and something to
drink then I went jogging.
10. You are doing well in that class you
have made all A’s so far.
11. Della broke the news to Jim she was
afraid he wouldn’t think she was pretty
• Hyphenate compound adjectives that come
before the noun they modify.
– well-intentioned parent
• Hyphenate compound words in which a vowel
or consonant is repeated.
• Hyphenate compound words such as
• Dates and page numbers
– Pages 17-45
• Hyphenate compound numbers and
fractions used as adjectives.
– twenty-four chairs, one-half cup
• Hyphenate words that begin with the
prefix ex, self, great, half, all, quasi,
• Hyphenate words with the suffix elect
• Do not hyphenate compound words
beginning with an adverb ending in –ly
– poorly made dress
• Use dashes to set off explanatory
– Why does Abigail behave the way that she
does? Her motives – jealousy and vengeance
- drive her to do the unthinkable.
• Use dashes to show an abrupt break in
– His girlfriend – although I don’t know why he
likes her – won the concert tickets.
– “Why—why can’t I come, too?” Kim asked
• Many words and phrases break into the main
thought of a sentence. You use commas to set
– The student, who is at the top of his class, wants to
become a doctor.
– Anne, his sister, does not agree with him.
• Sometimes, the break demands a stronger
emphasis. In such cases, a dash is used.
• Judy– Ms. Lane, I mean– will be your new
• Our dog—she’s a short-haired dachshund—is too
affectionate to be a good watchdog.
• “Why—why can’t I come, too?” Janet asked.
1. Until 1959, the U.S. flag had forty eight stars.
2. She was named to the all American team.
3. We were surprised in fact amazed to learn
that the game had been called off.
4. The valedictorian that is the student with the
highest average will be given a special award.
5. Twenty six students most of them from the
advanced math class represented our school at
the all state chess match.
6. The ex treasurer of our club an extremely self
confident person is now running for class president.
7. Grandmother murmured, “Please turn out the ” and
then fell asleep.
8.We met the cofounder of the company at the
9. In twenty five days, my grandparents will celebrate
their forty fifth wedding anniversary.
10. I think she is getting married around mid November.
Bell Ringer 4/1
# 1-10 on your paper, write “C” if the hyphens and
dashes in the sentence are correct, and “I” if they are
1. Elyse came in twenty-seventh in the senior
class academic rankings.
2. She was a student at Auburn from 2005 2009.
3. My brother thinks he is all knowing– and
often tries to prove it.
4. We will surely win the all-Scholastic
tournament this season.
5. Read pages- 589 599 and answer questions- 1
Bell Ringer 4/1, cont.
6. The basic tools—hammer, wrench, and screwdriver
are all in your kit.
7. “Please make yourself at home—do you smell
8. Shanna exercises every day an hour each morning to
prepare for the track meet.
9. The signs of spring—warmer weather, blooming
flowers, and singing birds—are in evidence.
10. If your knee is swollen, then you should take an anti
Practice # 3
1. The singer she is a self made star was
discovered on YouTube.
2. My brother he lives in Birmingham now is a
3. The trees at Toomer’s Corner you can tell by
looking at them are in bad shape.
4. Daisy our well trained dachshund is just like
part of the family.
5. Jill Ms. Hayes, I mean will be your new
Practice # 3, cont.
6. The ex ambassador’s lecture focused on the
post Civil War era.
7. Our street you can’t miss it is at the bottom of
8. “You you mean you didn’t get my letter? But
but that’s impossible!”
9. My favorite author the one who wrote the entire
book series is an ex lawyer.
10. “Do you want to eat what’s the score by the
way? while you watch the rest of the game?”
• If words are omitted at the end of a quoted
sentence, use ellipsis marks followed by the
necessary ending punctuation mark.
– The regulation states, "All agencies must document overtime
. . . ."
The original sentence read, The regulation states, "All
agencies must document overtime or risk losing federal
• Sometimes sentences are meant to trail
off. Use ellipsis marks without any
ending punctuation in this
situation. Example "I thought that you
might . . ."
• If words are omitted within a quoted
sentence, use ellipsis marks where you
have left out the word(s).
– "According to our records, Callan received
. . . awards for best actress." Original
According to our records, Callan received
two Emmys and two Oscar awards for best
• If sentences are omitted between other
sentences within a quotation, use ellipsis
marks after the ending punctuation mark of
the preceding sentence.
– The regulation states, "Agencies may risk losing
federal funds. . . . All agencies will be audited
annually." NOTE: The first period has no space
before it because it is the ending punctuation mark
for the first sentence. After the ellipsis marks,
one space follows before the next sentence.
• If your quoted material begins with the
middle of a sentence, use the ellipsis marks at
the beginning of the quotation.
– Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, said, ".
. . our fathers brought forth . . . a new nation,
conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that 'all men are created equal.'"
NOTE: The second set of ellipsis marks in the
above example is used where words within the
quoted sentence have been omitted.
The original reads, "Four score and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a
new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to
the proposition that 'all men are created equal.' "
• When you omit one or more paragraphs within
a long quotation, use ellipsis marks after the
last punctuation mark that ends the preceding
• All ellipses information was taken from The
Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
• Separates successive divisions in an
extended date: fiscal year 1998/99.
• Represents per: 35 km/hr, 1,800
• Means or between the words and and
or: Take water skis and/or fishing
equipment when you visit the beach
• Use slashes to separate lines of poetry.
Leave a space before and after the slash
to show when the line of poetry ends.
– The opening of Robert Frost's poem “Stopping
by Woods on a Snowy Evening” goes like this:
“Whose woods these are / I think I know, / His
house is in the village, though. / He will not see
me stopping here / To watch his woods fill up
• Use slashes to show choice.
– Be sure to use the right temperature scale
• Use slashes in fractions or formulas.
– 1/2, ¾
• All slash information taken from Fact
• Indicates the possessive case of
singular and plural nouns, indefinite
pronouns, and surnames combined
with designations such as Jr., Sr.,
– my sister's husband, my three sisters'
husbands, anyone's guess, They answer
each other's phones, John Smith, Jr.'s
• Indicates joint possession when used
with the last of two or more nouns in
– Doe and Roe's report.
• Indicates individual possession or
authorship when used with each of
two or more nouns in a series
– Smith's, Roe's, and Doe's reports.
• Use an apostrophe to show possession.
• With singular nouns not ending in s, add
an apostrophe and s.
– Examples: girl, girl's manuscript; student,
• With singular nouns ending in s, add an
apostrophe and s.
– Examples: Charles, Charles's book;
hostess, hostess's menu
*A proper name ending in s may add only an
apostrophe if the addition of an ‘s would make
the name awkward to pronounce.
-Examples: Ulysses’ plan, Mrs. Jones’ car,
Nicholas Sparks’ novel
• Use an apostrophe and s to show the
plural of a letter.
• Mind your p's and q's.
• Computers will be even more important in
the late 1990's.
• Use an apostrophe and s to show the
plural of a word referred to as a word.
• There are too many distracting like's and
um's in her speech.
• Use an apostrophe to show where a letter
or number has been omitted.
– To show that letters have been left out of
• can't, won't, I'll
– To show that numbers have been left out of a
• the '70s, the '90s
– All apostrophe information taken from Fact
Parentheses and Brackets
• Use parentheses to set off supplemental
material. Punctuate within the parentheses only
if the punctuation is part of the parenthetical
• I saw Bill Cosby (he is my favorite comedian)
• Use brackets to enclose information inserted by
someone besides the original writer.
• The paper continues, “The company knows he
[Watson] is impressed.”
• Use quotation marks to enclose a direct
quotation—a person’s exact words.
• Kim said, “This car is making a funny noise.”
• “Maybe we should pull over,” suggested
• An interrupting expression is not apart
of a quotation, and should not be inside
the quotation marks.
– “Let’s sit here,” Jennifer whispered, “not
way down there in front.”
Marks of punctuation used
1. Commas and periods are always placed
inside closing quotation marks.
• “I haven’t seen the movie,” she remarked,
“but I understand it’s excellent.”
2. Semicolons and colons are always
placed outside closing quotation marks.
• The following actresses were cited for
“best performance in a leading role”: Sally
Field, Meryl Streep, and Sandra Bullock.
Marks of punctuation used
3. Question marks and exclamation points
are placed inside the closing quotation
marks if the quotation is a question or an
exclamation; otherwise, they are placed
Examples: “Is it too cold in here?” the
manager asked as I shivered.
It’s not an insult to be called a
• Use quotation marks to enclose titles of
articles, short stories, poems, songs,
individual episodes of TV shows,
chapters, and other parts of books.
• Also, for an original expression.
– The poem “On Ageing” by Maya Angelou is
one of my grandmother’s favorites.
– My cousin uses the expression “the cat’s
meow” to describe something she likes.
When to use italics—or underline
• Use underlining (italics) for titles of books,
plays, films, periodicals, works of art,
television shows, ships, aircraft, and so on.
• He subscribes to Sports Illustrated.
• Tonight we will watch Survivor on television.
• Titanic, Apollo 13
Apostrophe, Quotation Mark, and
1. I wish, she said, that we went to the same school.
2. As a baby sitter, I have read the childrens book The
Pokey Little Puppy at least a dozen times.
3. Although In a Station of the Metro is a poem, it only
contains two lines.
4. The concert ended with an inspiring rendition of God
5. Tim Tebows book, Through My Eyes, is a
recollection of his football career and an inspiration
6. Shari asked if she could borrow my copy of Southern
7. Listen carefully! said Ms. Hayes. Every student who
plans to go on the trip must have a note from home.
8. In England, Matt told Mom that he wanted to swim
in a moat.
9. The princesses gowns were very beautiful.
10. On American Idol, she sang the song I Will Always
Love You, which is one of Whitney Houstons.