Punctuation Rules

Punctuation Rules
comma: (,)
after introductory participial phrases: Falling quickly, Joe Harper sang
after introductory interjections: Yes, I do.
after informal salutations: Dear Dante,
after long introductory prepositional phrases:
In the chill early morning wind, we moved forward.
after multiple introductory prepositional phrases:
At the beginning of the competition, she learned anxiety.
after introductory dependent clauses (D,I): If you go, I go.
after the day and year: January 3,1987, was cold.
after the city and state: Florence, Italy, is windy.
around nonessential (nonrestrictive) clauses:
The dog, which had a nice smile, turned back.
around nonessential participial phrases:
My friend, laughing with delight, produced the chicken.
around most appositives: Hamlet, my good friend, is visiting.
around nouns of direct address: Yes, Hamlet, I will.
around parenthetical expressions: I always, bless me, sneeze.
before coordinating conjunctions in I,ccI compound sentences:
I have some mutton, and he has some jerky.
between all items in a list: tall, dark, handsome, and smart
between adjectives preceding a noun: A smart, friendly man
between contrasts introduced by not: It’s here, not there.
between name and degree or title: Marcus Aurelius, Ph.D.
inside closing quotation marks: “Shut up,” he explained.
NOT after a short prepositional phrase: In May we departed.
NOT between compound subjects/predicates: Hamlet and Ophelia do.
NOT between subject and verb: Wrong: My good friend, is here.
semicolon: (; )
between independent clauses if no coordinating conjunction: I;I
I am an expert; Ben Rogers is a neophyte.
between items in a list if the items themselves contain commas:
We ordered bacon; fried, scrambled, and poached eggs; and grits.
between independent clauses joined by however, etc.
We all wanted to go; however, only Ishmael departed.
colon: (:)
before a list that is not a compound direct object or subject complement:
There are three categories: wishes, lies, and dreams.
Punctuation Rules
before a long formal statement: To whom it may concern:
before a long quotation, as in a research paper.
between hours and minutes in time: 6:15
between Bible chapter and verse: Luke 4:16
after formal salutations: Dear Sir:
between titles and subtitles: Walt Whitman: Poet of America
italics: (no or no) (italics and underlining are understood to be the same thing)
title of a book: A Tale of Two Cities Treasure Island
title of a magazine: Life National Geonranhic
title of a work of art: Mona Lisa David
title of a train or airplane: Spirit of St. Louis The Hindenburg
words, letters, and numbers as such: the word blubber, the letter a, the number 5 foreign
language words: deja vu
Use italics when your font is Times, and use underline when your font is Courier.
Times looks good in italics.
Courier looks better underlined.
Underline (use italics) when you are referring to a word itself. Words, numbers, and letters as such must be placed in italics, which means—on a typewriter—that they must be underlined (NOT put in quotation marks!). In this way we distinguish the word dog from the animal,
dog. We use b’s in spelling, and we use 3’s in counting. See? We also place foreign language
words in italics/underline: Homer begins his story in medias res, in the middle of things. This
technique will be especially important when you are analyzing poetry or literature and are making reference to the words, letters, or sounds contained in the writing.
Underline titles. The titles of books, newspapers, ships, trains, works of art, major musical
compositions, and other important titles are always to be placed in italics, both in the body of a
research paper and in the Works Cited. If you are typing, this means that you underline the title,
though in a published document italics is the style in which the letters lean to the right. In other
words, when you see a title in a book, the title will look like this: A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
but in a research paper it will look like this: A Midsummer Night’ s Dream. Titles should not be
placed in quotation marks or in upper case in lieu of italics. Less significant titles, such as the
titles of chapters, articles, poems, or songs, do not deserve italics; these titles are only placed in
quotation marks. In a Works Cited listing, book titles are only to be underlined; they are not also
enclosed in quotation marks.
Punctuation Rules
quotation marks: (“ “)
around a direct quotation: He said, “I am not a crook.”
commas and periods go inside quotes: “Chocolate,” he said.
colons and semicolons go outside quotes: Mercutio said, “Hi”; I left.
title of short story, poem, song: “The Road Not Taken”
title of article, chapter, or part of publication:
The fourth chapter of My False Demise is entitled “Rumors.”
NOT to indicate cute, trite, or ungrammatical terms:
Hi, “Buddies,” how about a “pep talk!”
apostrophe: (‘)
noun made into a possessive adjective: John’s boat
missing letter in a contraction: don’t
missing number in a year contraction: ‘47
plurals of letters, numbers, signs, and words as such: a’s 5’s
with an s to show possession after a singular noun: Dickens’s
alone to show possession after a plural noun ending in s: dogs’
for quotations within quotations:
John said, “Hamlet cried, ‘Oops!’ when he fell.”
in the contraction of it and is: it’s
NOT in the possessive pronoun its.
NOT in plural centuries or decades: 1900s the 50s
hyphen: (-)
word divided at end of line
compound written numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine
fractions used as adjectives: a three-fourths majority
prefixes before proper noun or proper adjective: Pre-Raphaelite
compound nouns that include prepositional phrases: father-in-law
compound adjective when it precedes its noun: a well-meant lie
NOT in compound adjectives after nouns: It was well meant.
do NOT use a hyphen (-) when you intend a dash (-- or —)
dash: (-- or —)
abrupt break in thought: So I--wait a minute!--ate the fish.
to show omitted words in dialogue:
Benvolio said, “Come here, you young --.
Make a dash on a typewriter type two hyphens and NO spaces--like that.
NOT to replace proper punctuation.
Punctuation Rules
ellipsis: ( . . . )
to indicate words omitted from quotations
Use three periods if the omission is within a sentence.
Use four periods if the omission includes sentence ending.
Type blank spaces between the periods of an ellipsis . . . see?
parenthesis: ( ( ) )
around parenthetical remarks added to a sentence:
He said I would be (I wish!) six feet tall.
brackets: ( [ ] )
around words inserted into quoted material:
Johnson notes, “At this time [Dickens] began to weaken.”
When you insert words into quotations--usually for the purpose of clarifying references or
enhancing the flow of the sentences--you must enclose your inserted words in brackets like [this]
to show that these words were not part of the original quote. Be sure to use [brackets] rather than
(parentheses) or <mathematical symbols>.
question mark: (?)
at the end of an interrogative sentence: Do you have dogs?
inside closing quotes if part of quote: Tybalt asked, “Is there time?”
outside quotes if not part of quote: Did the ghost say, “Remember me”?
period: (.)
at the end of a declarative sentence: I have three dogs.
at the end of a mild imperative sentence: Please go away.
after most abbreviations: Dr. Trelawney
inside closing quotation marks: He said, “Go away.”
exclamation point: (!)
after an exclamatory sentence: The sky is falling!
after a strong imperative sentence: Get out!
NOT to express chronic cuteness: Hi! Guess what!!
Punctuation Rules
virgule or slash (I)
When you are quoting poetry in a research paper, you don’t have to return to a new line just
because you reach the end of a line of the poem. Instead of returning to a new line, you may—if
you wish—just insert a slash (I) at the point where the poem drops to a new line. Include one
space before and after the slash: Mary had a little lamb, / Its fleece was white as snow, / And
every where that Mary went / The lamb was sure to go. The slash will separate the lines of poetry
for the reader. Of course, you can quote the lines in a column as they appear in the book also.
In other words, if you see this in a book:
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And every where that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.
You can type it this way in your paper if you want to:
Mary had a little lamb, / Its fleece was white as snow, / And every where
that Mary went / The lamb was sure to go.
space: ( or )
Type one space between words.
Type one space after a comma.
Type one space after the closing punctuation in each sentence:
Do it like this. Not like this.
Indent five spaces for a new paragraph.
Indent ten spaces for a long quotation.
Leave a space between periods in an ellipsis: . . . not: …
Leave NO spaces on either side of a dash or hyphen: pro-McGovern
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