Punctuation

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Does the Comma Go Before or After Quotation Marks?

Punctuating quotations raises many questions, and when instructing a class on proper comma placement, I am often met with blank stares unless I first break down the elements involved: 1) rules of quotation and 2) rules of commas. Once students have reviewed both uses, they can more easily combine them into a properly punctuated, understandable piece of text. Let’s review both quotation mark use and commas to fully understand where to place commas both before and after a quote. Quotation …

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How to Use Semicolons in a List – Worksheet & Examples

Semicolons are one of the most misunderstood and underused punctuation marks. Most of my students have never used one, nor do they recognize how it is used. I find it interesting they have never truly learned its use since it is such an easy element to include in their writing. One of the best ways to use this mark is to help clarify lists in complex sentences. Becoming comfortable with this use also makes it easier to use between clauses. …

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10 Tips to Help You With Punctuation

Communication is a powerful tool, and if you can speak and write properly, it is much more likely you will be taken seriously. These are the tenets of my classes, and when I have a group of students in front of me, I remind them constantly that proper grammar and punctuation (or otherwise) are likely the first things a future employer will see when they pick up their resume. This simple punctuation guide provides the tips you need to apply …

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How to Punctuate Dialogue – Rules & Examples (Worksheet)

I’m an avid reader, and I never think twice about the punctuation that makes dialog so easy to read, allowing you to flow from one conversation to the next. With so much exposure to the technique, you’d think it would be easy to reproduce – but nothing could be further from the truth. Punctuating dialogue properly eludes even the most voracious reader. And, it’s truly no surprise since you must remember more than one rule concerning quotations, terminal marks, and …

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Using Apostrophes To Show Possession and Ownership

Despite how easy it is to use apostrophes properly, they are often used incorrectly. This punctuation mark is essential to show possession, and its placement provides clarity and consciousness in written materials. I personally have made mistakes with an apostrophe: placing it improperly or forgetting the basic rules of use when writing. Knowing how to use the apostrophe for possession is incredibly important to avoid confusion. Does an Apostrophe Show Ownership? The apostrophe punctuation mark is used in one of …

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How to Edit Quotes

Quoting sources gives your essay or research paper credibility. But what if the quote requires context or doesn’t fit your sentences? How do you modify a quote? As a content creator, I’m always quoting people and sources. But sometimes, I have to tweak things or chop them up to fit with my writing format. Keep reading to learn the rules for editing quotes. Find out how to omit irrelevant text, correct a writer’s errors, or clarify meaning within direct quotations. …

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Comma Before or After Thus

The rules of commas can be slippery little rascals. I find myself undoing bad habits with my students due to poor comma rule definitions and a lack of grammar practice, almost more than teaching proper comma usage. However, one can only go so far in telling a class what not to do without showing them what to do. And, once they have mastered proper comma use, we get to mix it all up again with words like “thus.” Thus has …

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Plural Possessive Nouns – Rules and Examples

The majority of English speakers struggle with apostrophe placement, especially when trying to show ownership. Does the apostrophe go before the -s or after? If you struggle to find the answer, you aren’t alone. However, despite their nefarious-sounding name, plural possessive noun examples aren’t tricky to understand. To prove this point to my students, I make sure we work together to redefine each part of the tongue-tying name. Reminding them that they know what plural, possessive, and noun means helps …

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Comma Before or After Parenthesis? Examples and Worksheet

The students in my class regularly overuse commas, but the minute parentheses are included in a sentence, they are nowhere to be seen. This is due to the misconception that a pair of parentheses replaces the use of commas, but this isn’t always the case. This is a common issue writers struggle with, and we review the basic rules of using commas and parentheses to help them understand when to use them together and when not to. Parentheses often offset …

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Comma Usage Before and After “and” – Examples Included

Commas are probably one of the most confusing punctuation marks to use, and even I struggle to find ways to help my students determine where they belong. One of the most commonly asked questions I hear surrounds whether to place a comma before or after the word “and.” Unfortunately, the answer is not quick or simple. However, the comma rules concerning the word “and” is not difficult to understand. I’m going to start simple and explain how the word “and” …

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