Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [punctuation]

The correct and appropriate usage of punctuation.

2
votes
1answer
28 views

What are the rules for beginning a block quotation halfway into a quoted sentence?

I'm interested in the rules set by the Chicago Manual of Style. If I take a block quotation that starts with the following sentence: "To simplify: math and geometry are such and such" And if I ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

When quoting, must I also copy hyphens used to divide words that continue on the next line?

I want to quote a text in which re of the word relationships is on one line while lationships is on the next, and a hyphen follows re (re-) to indicate that the word continues on the next line. When I ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Do I need a comma? [migrated]

The man I met was a smelly redheaded middle-ager. Do I need a comma here after smelly? It is really hard to post here because of the constant rejection of my question body or tags.
3
votes
1answer
47 views

Is it good formatting to bookend quotations with a comma when they occur in the middle of narration?

Consider the sample sentence below from a novel. As he stared at it, Emma announced “Its blackberry cake! It’s the best cake you’ll ever taste. Honest!” And with that, she stuffed in another big ...
5
votes
1answer
48 views

en dash with space for non-integer?

I have a simple question. What's the correct writing style? 1.1–8.4% or 1.1 – 8.4% Without space around an en dash looks much better for my eyes. But I read somewhere that if it is a decimal number (...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

Use of commas in a descriptive sentence [migrated]

My eyes blinked in unbelief as they beheld the domineering statue, the inscription "Power has no limits" on its face and "I came, saw, and conquered" on its feet. Should there be a comma after face, ...
6
votes
4answers
106 views

'Ellipsis' - what do they convey and how to use them aptly in a Novel?

In the writing practises guides, it is usually mentioned that use of ellipsis is a bad practice. But I have come across certain usages in professional writing. To give an example; In the novel Eat ...
1
vote
3answers
111 views

End-of-line hyphenation - how should it be used?

End-of-line hyphenation is the process of breaking words between lines to create more consistency across a text block. (source) A long word is broken across a line-break by means of a hyphen. It helps ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

Quick punctuation request on a sentence containing a list with a colon per listed item

This is being used within a blog article, however, I want to primp it up for use in a more public and professional platform. My intrigue pertains to grammar and punctuation of the listed items in the ...
2
votes
1answer
39 views

When should we use an ellipsis in a poem instead of a comma or a dot?

The quote come from the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley: I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. . . . Near ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

Semicolon or better prose?

Word's grammar check tells me the second sentence below requires a semicolon rather than a comma “If you don’t accept your physical limitations, you will burn out.” Elena was analytical again, the ...
5
votes
5answers
126 views

Are too many exclamations wrong?

Exclamations, I feel, are a good way to describe tone without actually writing the tone. But most of the time I end up (as per reviewers) with too many of exclamations. Many also say that too many ...
1
vote
2answers
34 views

What are good guidelines and practices for word emphasis? [closed]

I struggle on what to highlight, and when to use quote marks. I also exaggerate specific words. Example: Please Sign-out and Click "Delete my sign-in info" before logging back in. Please provide ...
1
vote
3answers
127 views

Why don't writers add commas to lengthy sentences, to make them far more readable?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). p. 124.         ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

Writing a dialogue with a lot of ellipses

Is there a way to do this properly? Roxas... I need you... to do me a favor. All those hearts that I've captured... Kingdom Hearts... Set them free. This is from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and I ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Confused about when to treat something as a dialogue tag

Background: I'm helping a friend edit their fiction. I'm frequently left confused on anything related to dialogue tags. “Yes, but I mean no,” Steve stumbles over his words. “Not the come home ...
7
votes
2answers
89 views

How to punctuate dialogue tags with action descriptions

Someone told me that it's incorrect or outdated punctuation to put a comma after "said" in dialogue tags such as the following (from an old book we're reprinting): “I shouldn’t wonder if you could ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

Dots in lists with mixed-width items

It is common to omit end-dots in lists with very short items: Shop list: * Milk * Bread * Probably eggs It is common to use end-dots in lists with long descriptive items: Things which should be ...
3
votes
1answer
40 views

How to refer to complex job titles in cover letters?

Sometimes job listings use slashes and hyphens in the title of the job to specify specialties or other job characteristics. For instance, here are two listings on stack exchange: Data Scientist - ...
0
votes
1answer
86 views

Punctuating dialogue that is interrupted by thoughts/internal monologue rather than action?

So I've got a bit: Alta blinked. She pushed on, smiling, “—the argument. When the argument succeeds, which I still don’t fully deem, even after that—it looks to me like you’ve still got to do all ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it okay to use a lot of exclamation marks?

I've noticed that I use a lot of exclamation marks when my characters are talking. They appear a lot in action scenes. Is there any rule of thumb when using exclamation marks?
5
votes
2answers
79 views

Parentheses in scientific writing

I occasionally use parentheses in scientific writing when a piece of information is related to a previous statement but not to the central story. Is it bad style in scientific writing to use ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Punctuation when using inline dialogue

I am a bit crazy about punctuation and I have a question that I'm struggling to find a consensus on. For dialogue (especially in fiction), I always use the standard format: "I told you I wanted ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Eliminating the Dash in Prose Writing

I have been accused — shock, horror — of using the dash (the one that indicates a three-quarters pause) too much in my fiction. Thing is — I quite like the effect (the space inserted in sentences by ...
2
votes
0answers
333 views

Clarifying English Writing Conventions [closed]

I need example and usage of the following. "but" - I seen it used but without comma, but after comma, and new sentence with But. What's the proper way to use it. "However" - I seen it used start of a ...
8
votes
2answers
143 views

What is the correct way to use semicolons vs. commas vs. em dashes?

In Sabriel by Garth Nix, near the beginning of Chapter Two, there is the following sentence: Anything powerful enough to cross the Wall usually retained enough magic to assume the shape of a soldier; ...
3
votes
3answers
85 views

Properly punctuate a quote

I am trying to learn to properly punctuate a quote, for example If I have I said "Let us go" and we left. Do I put a comma before or after the quote? Do I put a period after the word go before ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

What is the rule for commas?

How many commas is too many commas? For example: By looking at our data we can see a clear pattern, or trend, in our data that, as the steepness of the inclined plane increases, the effort force ...
6
votes
3answers
114 views

Which is the correct way to punctuate this dialogue with ellipses?

Below are four alternate dialogues that I am confused between. I'd like to know which is the correctly punctuated one. Also please explain how to use ellipses in a dialogue which is interrupted by a ...
3
votes
3answers
331 views

In first person narrative, is it acceptable to end rhetorical questions with a period?

In first person narrative, would it be acceptable to use a period in place of a question mark when the narrator is asking a rhetorical question? example: My car broke down again. Why does this always ...
3
votes
1answer
337 views

Where does the question mark go in Harvard Referencing when quoting a question with a citation at the end of a sentence (not itself a question)?

If I am quoting a question, and the quotation comes at the end of a sentence with a citation, where does the question mark go? I have been told that question marks (and full stops) should come after ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Words and Phrases Used as Words

The Chicago Manual of Style: When a word or term is not used functionally but is referred to as the word or term itself, it is either italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. Proper nouns ...
2
votes
1answer
196 views

Dash and space usage for dialogue interruptions, stuttering, starting over

I'm hoping for guidance on several very similar situations, which I suspect are all meant to be punctuated and spaced differently. Stuttering How would you write someone stuttering out the word "you"...
3
votes
5answers
127 views

How to make a statement formulated like an exclamation, but even-toned?

In writing, particularly writing dialogue or speech-like prose, it is custom to use the punctuation to indicate the tone of the speech. As such, one often uses an exclamation point on a standard ...
4
votes
1answer
75 views

Dialogue continuations by another speaker: capitalize or no?

Which of these is correct? I showed him the woman. “Blood loss is a problem. She needs the wound cauterized.” His eyes widened, “I can’t do that! Her face—” “—is half scraped off. She’...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

When do I use single quotation marks when I am typing or writing?

I'm new to this website so I need help. A couple punctuation marks confuse me. It's hard for me to remember stuff.
1
vote
2answers
278 views

Need clarification on use of M-dash and ellipsis in screenplay, I've seen numerous conflicting sources on this

I will try to explain the general idea I've gotten from the most trusted source in my opinion. PLZ EXCUSE MY CRUDE INSULT TO SCREENPLAY FORMAT, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TRANSFER THE REAL THING INTO THIS ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Should I use colons and semicolons to summarize information?

I'm writing a paper that goes something like this: To quickly summarize MIT is located in Massachusetts FIU is in Florida, The tuition cost for MIT is 45 thousand versus 6 thousand for 30 credits ...
2
votes
2answers
342 views

Using ellipses in a novel

A lot of my favorite writers use ellipses, in both narration and dialogue. I know the rules for them, and how they are broken (somewhat) for fiction. The problem I have is that when I vacillate ...
0
votes
2answers
951 views

The use of the tilde in English?

The 'tilde' key, or (~) is commonly found in programming and in other languages to express repetition of characters, for example, 'Woooo!' would become 'Woo~!' and in Japanese text, the tilde is ...
1
vote
3answers
101 views

Why use quotes on the word “Dad” when talking to someone? [closed]

If a step-father is texting his step daughter and he writes: Maybe your "dad" can step up and take the dog What's meant by putting quotation marks around the word "dad"?
2
votes
2answers
320 views

Using capital letters and full-stop in bullet points

This question may be related with this question. I come to the direct point. I am confused with the usage of bullet points. Is is necessary to capitalize the first letter in each bullet point? Also, ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

How to indicate that another point is mentioned withou explicitly saying that?

In the email I'm writing there are three separate points. The last two ones are not so long so that each of them can fit in a single paragraph. However, the first one is needed to be split into two ...
3
votes
1answer
289 views

Am I using too many commas?

I feel like I'm using too many commas. I'm a pretty young writer and I didn't exactly pay attention in English class very often (I was too busy reading a shit load of books and passing with C+'s) and ...
2
votes
3answers
191 views

Should I punctuate my poems

Most poetry I have seen, especially free-form, is written in broken lines. These lines them run into other lines and so not have any punctuation. Some have explained this using enjambment. Where I ...
2
votes
2answers
880 views

Dedication Punctuation - include a period?

For the dedication of my upcoming book, I have written For my child. Do you think that period should be there?
0
votes
1answer
45 views

Partial clauses after semi-colons

I recently read a novel with a section that went something like this: "I have often wished that I had born into a different family; that I had never studied art at college; that my voice weren't so ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Using exclamation points in fiction

I've heard some advice that you're only supposed to use an exclamation point every 100,000 words or so. I'm finding this advice very hard to follow; I've written 2,000 words so far and have about 5 ...
5
votes
5answers
821 views

How to show that one long line of poetry is only one line

If I'm writing the following clerihew resume where I'm constrained to 40 characters per line. +----------------------------------------+ |Peter Turner | |code burner ...
1
vote
2answers
398 views

Period outside quotation marks …?

I am quoting a phrase (not dialog) that happens to come at the end of a sentence. Formal writing protocol - I think - tells us that punctuation goes inside the quotes but it seems strange here. A ...