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Question Mark and Quotation Marks – Usage & Examples

A common question in my class concerns where end marks belong when used with a quotation: to the inside or outside of the end quotation mark? The correct answer is both, depending on how the quotation marks are used. It all depends on whether you are quoting a question or asking a question about a quote. Let’s take a closer look at the roles quotation marks and question marks play in the English language and how you can use them …

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Question Mark After “I Was Wondering” – Guide & Examples

The phrase “I was wondering” serves as a polite way to introduce a sentence or as part of an imperative sentence when requesting something. Although a question mark never directly follows its use, it is a common end mark to use when it is included in a sentence. Let’s look at the different ways you can integrate this phrase into your writing and speech and learn how to punctuate it properly. Question Mark Rules and Examples Interrogative sentences are used …

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Do You Put A Comma Before Since?

The English language contains many words used as more than one part of speech. This makes them versatile but also confusing for anyone still learning the language. Since is one of these words and can be used in multiple ways to talk about the passage of time or replace the word “because” in a sentence. It is also often misused and misspelled by language learners, even though it is an easy word to incorporate into your writing and speech. To …

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Colons With Lists – How To Use Them Correctly

The English language uses many rules to create clarity in your writing. A proper sentence format integrates more than just a capitalization and end mark; it includes punctuation marks to form complete sentences and add detail to your writing purpose. My students avoid using colons because they assume their use is complicated. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Colons serve one purpose and have one general rule of thumb to remember: they can only follow an independent clause. …

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How to Use Commas With “As Well As”

Making sure your audience understands the purpose of your writing is dependent upon your word choice. When taking students to the next level in their writing with compound sentences and conjoining phrases, the rules of punctuation need to be reviewed. Commas are the most common punctuation mark used in the English language to help create clarity and understanding in writing. Phrases like “as well as” allow you to add detail and, when properly punctuated, can be used to mean different …

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How to Use Commas with Names and Titles Correctly

Were you once taught that a comma is always used to introduce a person’s name or a title of a work in a sentence? You were taught incorrectly, and this is one of the most confusing grammar rules for both new and experienced English writers. Although subtle, using commas when they are not needed can create confusing breaks in the flow of your writing, and learning how to use them correctly is important. Luckily, proper comma usage with names and …

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How to Use a Comma With Including

Commas separate information, and when you use words like including in your sentences, you infer a separation or continuation of ideas. Does that mean you also need to use a comma before the word including? Where you add or leave out a comma changes the meaning of sentences, and knowing their proper placement is the difference between your reader understanding your writing – or being confused. Let’s look at where to place a comma when the sentence also includes the …

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7 Tips on How to Punctuate a Poem

Experienced poets have the confidence they need to use grammar and punctuation in their writings in any way they see fit. But, for the new poet, finding a way to use punctuation without losing your textual artistry can be a challenge. Starting slow and utilizing the basic rule of punctuation that you already know is a great place to start, and once you are comfortable, you more effectively pick and choose what you need to bring your words to life. …

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The Importance of Punctuation

Basic language rules are taught to all emerging English language learners, and most students already have a good grasp of punctuation before moving into a higher level of language learning. More advanced writing and the development of  writers’ voices call for a better understanding of how to organize complex sentence structures. Convincing my students to take that plunge and attempt more difficult sentences does take some effort, but a good review of basic grammar rules generally helps. So does showing …

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Semicolon vs. Period – Which One To Use?

Teaching my students how to extend their thoughts in their writing is one of the most challenging aspects of education. Not only does it require them to have options about what they are writing about, it also requires proper punctuation so their reader understands those opinions. Tying together complete sentences to one another with structured ideas, as well as using a semicolon to do so, are the two best ways to create flow in your writing. Let’s take a look …

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