PunctuationThe print journalist utilizes punctuation to provide clarity and tobring understanding to readers.Make the punctuation toolbox and its contents your good friend, ifyou want to stand out so people will read your stuff.There is nothing more frustrating than typos.
Apostrophe The small apostrophe is a big friend of print journalism. This tiny punctuation mark saves valuable space in copy. Its most important job is showing possession of a word. The possession rule states: If the word ends in “s,” add the apostrophe. If the word does not end in “s,” add an apostrophe plus “s.”
Contractions, omitted letters, figures An apostrophe used in place of a letter or letters says they are left out. This saves the journalist valuable space in copy. Use it to form contractions: „Tis true that „til a better baker comes along, his apple pie is the best in town. I want to go to rock „n‟ roll heaven when I die. Use an apostrophe to replace omitted figures. It was during the Fabulous ‟50s that Carlton and Claudia went to high school. Members of the class of ‟33 found it difficult to obtain jobs.
Plurals of a single letter Make an individual letter plural by adding an apostrophe plus “s.” To make an individual number plural, add the “s” but not the apostrophe. Interestingly, the apostrophe is not used to pluralize numbers. The classic bell-shaped curve can be seen in the spread of A‟s, B‟s, C‟s, D‟s and F‟s on yesterday‟s test. Professor Walker has hoped to see more 80s and 90s on the midterm exam.
Nouns/words that are singular To indicate noun possession, add an apostrophe to the person, place or thing. For compound hyphenated singular-word constructions, add an apostrophe and “s” to the last word. My mother-in-law‟s raisin cookies are a big hit with my brother- in-law‟s children. The attorney general‟s briefcase was left in the taxi. Also, pronouns that end in “body” or “one” must have an apostrophe plus the letter “s.” The captain‟s watch became rusted by the salty air. Our dog‟s bite is worse than its bark. Anybody‟s guess is better than nobody‟s opinion.
Nouns/words that are singular When there are two names and they share joint ownership, add an apostrophe and “s” to the last name only. Add an apostrophe plus “s” to all names when you indicate separate ownership. Tamara and T‟J.‟s bed is too large for the bedroom. (joint ownership) Gabriella‟s and Marlene‟s books are on different shelves in their apartment. (separate ownership) Shaina‟s and Starla‟s cars are PT Cruisers. (separate ownership)
Nouns/words that are singular When there is a noun that is plural in form but singular in meaning, add only the apostrophe. Mathematics‟ rules Measles‟ effects A more acceptable way of writing these words would be “rules of mathematics” and “the effect of measles.” General Motors‟ profits United States‟ wealth It might better to rewrite in order to avoid the possessive case, such as “the profits of General Motors” and “the wealth of the United States.”
Nouns/words that are singular When you encounter singular common nouns that end in “s,” add an apostrophe plus “s” unless the next word begins with “s.” Hostess‟s dinner menu but hostess‟ Siamese cat Witness‟s testimony but witness‟ statements Governess‟s dress but governess‟ social life Some singular proper names end in “s.” In this situation, only an apostrophe is needed. Jesus‟ parables Julius‟ diamond ring Kansas‟ tornado season John Quincy Adams‟ library
Nouns/words that are singular Some phrases have words ending in “s.” When these words are descriptive, you do not use the apostrophe. A citizens band radio Writers guide A teachers college Try: A radio band for citizens; A guide for writers; A college for teachers Some organizations with a descriptive word in their names use an apostrophe to show possession while other organization do not. Follow the user‟s practice: Google it. Natalie Hernando wants to join the Actors‟ Equity. Carmen Diaz subscribes to the Ladies‟ Home Journal. Every state is represented in the National Governors Association.
Nouns/words that are singular For words ending in an “s” sound and followed by a word beginning with an “s,” add an apostrophe only. For appearance‟ sake For conscience‟ sake For goodness‟ sake In some cases, it is simpler to rewrite the phrase in a way that avoids using this correct but potentially confusing grammatical rule. For the necessity of appearance For the sake of conscience For the principle of goodness
Nouns/words that are singular Do not personalize inanimate objects by using an apostrophe. However, there is no hard and fast rule about using the possessive with an inanimate object. This is especially true if the object is personified. The interminable wind‟s sighing caused Midwestern pioneers to become mentally unbalanced. It is better to avoid the possessive form of inanimate objects by placing “of” in front of that inanimate object. Physics‟ rules are inflexible. The rules of physics are inflexible.
Nouns/words that are plural. Show possession by adding the apostrophe after the “s” to plural nouns ending in “s.” Gap stores handle girls‟ clothing. Our Buccaneers‟ game plan is built around the forward pass. Goats‟ hooves have black shoe police applied for 4-H competitions. Add an apostrophe plus “s” to plural nouns not ending in “s.” Children‟s toys this Christmas are covered with lead paint. Creating women‟s hats is an art. The men‟s room at Antonio Steakhouse is identified with the word “Steers” on the door.
Nouns that are plural possessive Some nouns call for an “es” in plural form. This added syllable makes pronunciation easier. The possessive for these nouns is “es‟.” Beach – beaches Fox – foxes Wish – wishes Jones – Joneses We went to the Joneses for the party.
Nouns that are singular or plural Some nouns, such as “deer,” can be either singular or plural. If that noun ends in “s,” the possessive should be “s” plus an apostrophe. If the noun does not end in “s,” the possessive would be apostrophe plus “s.” The corps‟ military assignment is to defend the border between the United States and Malaysia. Four deer‟s antlers were mounted on the hunter‟s wall.
Quasi-possessive words Add an apostrophe plus “s” when the word is singular. Add an “s” plus an apostrophe when the word is plural. Hyphenate the word whenever possible for clarity. A month‟s worth of work awaits Armando. Mia plans to earn five years‟ pay before she marries. Matthew says a two-week vacation in Florida reminds him of Egypt.
Do Nots No apostrophe use for feet and minutes The mathematical symbol for “feet” is an apostrophe. The mathematical symbol for “minutes” is an apostrophe. The wire services do not use either. This means you must spell out your words. Wrong: 25‟ Wrong: 45‟ Right: 25 feet Right: 45 minutes
Personal Interrogative and relatedpronouns Do not use an apostrophe with personal interrogative and related pronouns. Theirs is the task of cleaning up the gym, and ours is the responsibility of sweeping the hall. What‟s his is mine, and what‟s hers is yours.
Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives Do not use an apostrophe in possessive pronouns or for words used as adjectives. The Veterans Administration has its job clearly defined for returning Iraqi veterans. The employees entrance to the doctors lounge is a the rear of the hospital.
Colons and Semicolons Colons and semicolons are infrequently used, but it is important to know when and how to use them. Two uses of colons are in listings and in dialogue. Semicolons provide more space for thought than a comma allows. Semicolons help make lists clear by separating items in a series.
Colons Biblical verses, legal documents, literary manuscripts Utilize colons when citing Biblical chapters and versus, references to legal documents and to literary manuscripts. Nicholas Pappas‟ favorite New Testament verse is John 3:16. The district attorney nailed the dope dealer using Arkansas Code 7:14-144. One of Shakespeares most romantic lines is Sonnet 18:1.
Colons With bullets – the colon always comes into play when items preceded by bullets are introduced. The City Council: - Disapproved the mayor‟s raise - Approved paving for Hall Street - Approved purchasing two fire engines When a more formal roster is needed, the colon is used: The dean fined the following fraternities: Beta Beta Beta Phi Phi Phi Omega Omega Omega