Category: Punctuation

  • What Are The 3 Main Comma Rules?

    What Are The 3 Main Comma Rules?

    The comma is one of the most used punctuation marks in English and helps to clarify the meaning of sentences by indicating pauses, separating ideas, or organizing list items. However, its misuse can lead to confusion or misinterpretation of the message you are trying to convey. To make sure that you have clarity and precision…

  • How Do I Know If I Need A Comma?

    How Do I Know If I Need A Comma?

    Commas, those small, seemingly insignificant punctuation marks, hold immense power in the realm of writing. They can alter the pace of a sentence, clarify meaning, and even change the entire message being conveyed. But with great power comes great responsibility, and the misuse of commas can lead to confusion, misunderstanding, or simply a cluttered piece…

  • What Is a Comma Splice and Why Should You Care?

    What Is a Comma Splice and Why Should You Care?

    Before I embarked on the glamorous, jewel-encrusted life of a freelancer, I taught college English for close to a decade. Over the course of those nine luxurious, champagne-soaked years of commuting from one side of Chicago to the other on my yacht and getting paid in rubies and Kanye West concert tickets, I graded a…

  • A 5- to 10-Minute Primer on Suspensive Hyphenation

    A 5- to 10-Minute Primer on Suspensive Hyphenation

    A hyphen is a hyphen, right? Well, not exactly. Hyphens are commonly used to join compound words like full-time, part-time, third-grade, goal-oriented and so forth. Suspensive hyphenation refers to the use of a hyphen in phrases that function as adjectives or in noun phrases that share common words. Suspensive hyphens also shorten compound modifiers. I…

  • Using Contractions in Formal Writing: Acceptable or Not?

    Using Contractions in Formal Writing: Acceptable or Not?

    What are contractions in writing? Contractions are the abbreviated forms of word combinations, such as “don’t” for “do not” or “isn’t” for “is not.” Contractions are like an appendix; they’re not that pretty, sometimes they get in the way, sometimes they can function just fine, but other times it is necessary to remove them for…

  • Contractions Grammar 101: A Guide With Examples

    Contractions Grammar 101: A Guide With Examples

    If you’re like me, you often feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day. There’s never any time to play video games or exercise. There’s no time to study or to get into Stanford. You, me, Jessie Spano — we’ll take any shortcuts we can get if it means regaining just a few precious moments of…

  • Using the Interrobang Is a Sign of Lazy Writing

    Using the Interrobang Is a Sign of Lazy Writing

    I consider myself pretty well-versed in the latest goings-on in the writing world, so it came as quite a revelation to hear of a new (to me, at least) punctuation mark called the interrobang. This particular mark blends the question mark and exclamation point (‽) into an amalgamation of questioning surprise, a seasoning of shock…

  • Improve Your Writing by Avoiding “Scare Quotes”

    Improve Your Writing by Avoiding “Scare Quotes”

    The other day I saw a sign in a shop window: “Farm Fresh” “Chicken” $2.50/lb. That didn’t inspire much confidence in me! Was the chicken really farm fresh? Was it even chicken, or was it some other mysterious substance? I decided to pick up some pork chops for dinner instead, and I started thinking about…

  • Hyphens and Dashes Demystified

    Hyphens and Dashes Demystified

    During a typical day, most writers work with a ridiculous number of words and punctuation marks that look alike and, for added fun, have similar uses or meanings. Hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes are perfect examples. To me, these punctuation marks reflect either terrible planning or an intentional attempt to drive writers crazy. Even…