Questions tagged [punctuation]

The correct and appropriate usage of punctuation.

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What's the word for shortened speech?

I've seen it everywhere where a character uses shortened words often with this single punctuation mark: '. Like G'day, G'night. I've seen it in some TV shows too. Like "'Bout time someone hit him....
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2 answers
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Listing quotes in a sentence

Wondering if I could get an opinion on this sentence in which the author lists some of his father's favorite quotes (apologies for crudeness): A greatest hits list of those would include: “flatter ...
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3 votes
2 answers
459 views

What would the dialogue be when a character is not listening to another character?

Like a son tuning out his mother's scolding. Or a character being distracted as their friend blabs on about something. Would it be like: "Isn't he dreamy? I mean, look at the size of those ...
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how to list questions in parenthetical examples

I am writing a professional document, and want to include three equally-weighted examples at the end of a sentence. Two of the examples are questions. What is the correct way/is there a way to ...
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3 answers
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Should ending punctuation be put before or after an ellipsis? Compare ?..., ...?, !... and ...!

Through reading some self-published novels, I have noticed some writers in their character dialogue put an exclamation mark or question mark before an ellipsis and sometimes after. However I am not ...
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-2 votes
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Semicolon and period in software instructions

I'm writing a software manual and I worry about my semicolon usage. I believe I'm using them correctly, but it's not that I have to. My project is a software manual. People scan for the information ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
62 views

Is an ellipsis after an em dash unusual?

In my writing, I’ve found that (in dialogue) I use the em dash to show a sudden break from dialogue, and I use an ellipsis for trailing off, often coupled with a pause. I’ve run into the situation ...
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Right single quotation mark for shortened word (e.g., ’roo for kangaroo)?

For shortened words, e.g., ’roo for kangaroo, ’Canes for the Carolina Hurricanes (a professional ice hockey team), is a right single quotation mark the only proper punctuation or is a left one also ...
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Do quotation marks used to name something go inside or outside commas in Chicago style? [duplicate]

I am using quotation marks like this: Joshua Abraham Norton, who liked to call himself "Emperor", dressed in elaborate clothing. The strange fish, which scientists call a "coelacanth&...
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Capitalising after punctuation within speech?

I've notices that Emily Bronte does not always capitalise in dialogue after exclamation marks or question marks, for example (light spoilers): "Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! ...
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Should there be a comma between an independent clause followed by "intent on" + -ing (ex. intent on helping...)

If there's a sentence beginning with an independent clause and ending with something like "intent on seeing the good in others," how would I punctuate it midway (if at all)? Ex. We are ...
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Comma between two independent clauses subordinate to another clause

I have learned that I need a comma between two independent clauses, e.g., The tram service was disrupted, and the bus was too crowded. What if the clause pair is subordinate to another clause, e.g., I ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Punctuation in a dialogue where a character says their nickname, followed by their full name

I've been wondering about this rule for a while now, and I haven't seem to get what the 'correct' answer is. For example, there are times where I want a character (let's say the full name is Chris ...
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2 answers
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Comma after colon, or just use hyphens instead?

Please read the following sentence: My interest in learning and thirst to seek out information whenever I can: my curiosity, is what I would consider my greatest talent. In this situation, is the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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When is a colon recommended or more grammatically correct than a comma or semicolon when used mid sentence?

Please note I am posting as a UK English writer, I point this out as I know there are differences between American and UK grammar guidelines or accepted practices. I would also add that I am asking ...
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Can I link a dialogue tag to dialogue using a colon

Can I introduce dialogue as follows - The headmaster entered the room: "Everybody sit down now!" or - "Everybody sit down now": The headmaster had entered the room I know I could ...
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Trying to decide on writing style and format for dialogue. Looking for Grammatical advice and suggestions. Native British English spearker

I am new to this forum and writing and I am trying to decide on my preferred writing style. I am currently working on dialogue and looking for ideas and suggestions for grammatically correct and 'good ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Action between dialogue

I've noticed I've been putting lots of action between someone's dialogue and have many inconsistencies and wanted to know if there was a difference between different ways of punctuating it or if it ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
40 views

Best method to separate complex/multiple nouns and the verb? Semi-colon?

Would a semi-colon be appropriate separating a list of nouns all affected by a verb/or are all the agents responsible for said action? If not what do you all suggest without altering the structure of ...
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1 answer
39 views

Punctuating consecutive usage of "and"

What should a transcriptionist do if the speakers utters, "You need to accept the consequences and deal with the problem and focus more on growth." Be informed that transcription ...
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1 answer
49 views

A question on comma usage

I was proofreading an article when I stumbled upon the following sentence: "The truth is, basically we haven't laid the foundation of the medical infrastructure in our country." I know that ...
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2 answers
36 views

Period in list of numbers?

A319: 200km B737: 400km vs A319: 200km. B737: 400km. Which is correct? Period or no period in a bullet point list of numbers?
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1 vote
0 answers
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How do you format a song when it's part of a larger spoken piece?

I'm editing a children's book which includes songs. I usually format the songs as a block quote in a slightly smaller type size and centred on the longest line. However, I've just come to a song that ...
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2 answers
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When does a comma before "and" apply? [closed]

Should there be a comma before "and" in this sentence? I look forward to visiting with you and thank you for your consideration.
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1 vote
2 answers
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When a character is mentally recalling prior dialog verbatim, how should it be quoted?

When a character is mentally recalling prior dialog verbatim, should the dialog be surrounded by double-quotes or single-quotes, be italicized, or get no special treatment at all? For example: O'...
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2 answers
54 views

Is this question mark placement correct: "You've never heard 'Dancing Queen'?"

Would the question mark come after the single quotation mark and before the double quotation mark? Like this: "You've never heard 'Dancing Queen'?" This is dialogue in fiction, so the ...
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2 votes
4 answers
207 views

Overuse of commas?

I've noticed I have a thing for commas, but I don't know if it's a big enough deal. I do try to sparse my longer sentences, but it leaves these lingering ones with probably an overuse of commas? I ...
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4 votes
5 answers
185 views

How to punctuate quotes in paragraphs and multiple quotes used in succession

How would you punctuate quotes for multiple people talking simultaneously in the same paragraph? I.e., They lined up and waited for the last bell of the day and cheered with their tiny voices, "...
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5 votes
4 answers
451 views

Usage of comma vs dash

Which sentence works best in regards to ',' or '-'? If you don't, the track record will become diluted or If you don't - the track record will become diluted
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0 votes
3 answers
136 views

How to give the voice expression of shouting as well as rhetorical question

While writing dialogue, I came across this confusion. There are some moments when the characters are deep in their thoughts (past troubling thoughts), and something happens that makes them flip-out. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Comma punctuation

The bold in the following sentence is where I am confused - is it punctuated properly? It will be necessary to either return this money to the government if possible or, if not, give it to the poor ...
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1 vote
2 answers
116 views

Hyphen, Comma or Brackets? What should I use?

Which would be the proper style for a scientific publication: It is required that a, b, and, depending on a and b, c is given. It is required that a, b, and - depending on a and b - c is given. It ...
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1 vote
1 answer
182 views

Using an em dash in a sentence spanning over multiple lines

When using em dash in a sentence that runs to multiple lines, especially in poetry, can it be the last word of the continuous sentence? For example, let us consider the following Wordsworth poetry. (I ...
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Em dash with other punctuation

Proofreading my book: I've consulted the Chicago Manual of Style and do not find this question answered directly. Using em dashes to set off parenthetical material: Within a clause an em dash is ...
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1 vote
1 answer
91 views

How to punctuate dialogue interupted by the same character's dialogue?

I understand how to punctuate dialogue interrupted by action. But there are two main examples of where I feel it's effective for the same character to interrupt their own dialogue. Example 1: ...
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9 votes
9 answers
5k views

What's the most effective way to indicate an unknown year in a decade?

I want to indicate that the setting of a story is Los Angeles in the 2030s, but I don't want to specify the year, and I don't want to write it as Los Angeles, 2030s The Possibilities Los Angeles, 203-...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Should I use a comma or a colon? [closed]

I am a bit confused as to whether I should use a comma or a colon for the following sentence: Art quickly became a world where I could trust my abilities, a world where I can share my emotions and ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to punctuate a list of quoted questions

I'm editing a work with the following passage, which describes seven signs: . . . signs. Each had both picture and words. The pictures were an X on a rock, a cave mouth, a castle, a big tent, a tall ...
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1 vote
4 answers
82 views

If I can't smoothly fit something into my writing, can I use parenthesis instead?

Ok, so I'm writing a book set around 10 years in the future. Obviously, them being in the future, there are more high-tech gadgets that we don't have here. Normal things that they use in their every ...
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1 vote
3 answers
117 views

What is the proper punctuation when using the word "however" at the beginning or middle of a sentence?

I've asked this question using many platforms and tend to get conflicting answers. However, I believe the users of StackExchange will provide a trustworthy answer. In the example above, my instinct ...
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0 votes
2 answers
75 views

Can I use two different types of Punctuation at the end of the same sentence?

I've finally started writing my romance novel. There's a scene in the novel where the girl (Luna) is sneaking in from her boyfriend's house. Her dad, however, was waiting for her. The scene goes ...
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1 vote
4 answers
196 views

How to punctuate long, never-ending dialogue sentences?

I need some basic grammar guidelines to follow regarding how to punctuate dialogues where people go on forever, like in the example below: Now I've edited the whole series all five books which means ...
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1 vote
1 answer
74 views

How to punctuate repeated thoughts/words when transcribing dialogues?

I'm transcribing a webinar for work and I need to get the punctuations right for this. How do I punctuate dialogue when the speaker repeats words in a row whilst wondering out loud? For example, in ...
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0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Using 'somehow' in a sentence

This is what I have: Entering the house, she realized that somehow, inside was worse. I'm just using the comma here as a natural pause but should it have a comma before 'somehow' as well? That was ...
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1 vote
1 answer
104 views

Use of commas with non-dialogue-tag verbs before and after dialogue

I've recently found myself second guessing a convention I've followed for a while where with a piece of dialogue, for instance: "Hurry home" came down the front stairs behind her. I'm ...
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2 answers
723 views

How do I punctuate a slogan?

I have the following slogan: I sell, I build I want to make sure it's clear and concise. I did not add a period, because I know it's not a full sentence. However, I want to make sure it's ...
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5 votes
1 answer
276 views

Which manual of style suggests using parentheses within parentheses?

When it comes to nested parentheses, there are two options. (The first is to use square brackets for the inner text [like this]. The second is to simply use parentheses (like this).) I believe that ...
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2 votes
2 answers
52 views

Correctly phrasing a sentence containing "along with" followed by a list

I have the following sentence structure and I am wondering about the best way to phrase it: "Along with A, B, C and D have been shown to influence the production of E." What I am trying to ...
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0 votes
1 answer
32 views

Writing a brief report in a job

I recall a comma limit rule with respect to many things (inanimate) in a list e.g. "I have completed an initial patrol of all the interior/exterior points, including: doors, openings, passages, ...
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0 votes
1 answer
225 views

Capitalization for a thought mid-sentence [duplicate]

This is an example of something I've run into: I felt my excitement grow at the view, with “now THIS is a true alien world!” running through my mind. Should the "n" in "now" be ...
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