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More Punctuation Rules to Follow

Here are some more rules of punctuation you should follow on your writing assignments.

Using Semicolons

A semicolon is a period atop a comma for a reason- they are just short of a full stop. Use a semicolon to connect two complete sentences you want to join together. "I ate at the Thai restaurant; the food was delicious." You should also place a semicolon before words such as "however," "therefore," and "for example" when these are followed by complete sentences. "I brought 100 hundred sandwiches; however, they were not enough to feed the class." Semicolons can also replace commas to separate list items or independent clauses when these contain commas. "I went to Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; and Miami, Florida."

Parentheses & Brackets

Never use parentheses and brackets interchangeably. Parentheses enclose information that clarifies or is an aside. You can use parentheses instead of a comma or semicolon if you deem the information to be less important. "She finally told me (after an hour of deliberation) that my pasta dinner was delicious." If the phrase in parentheses ends the sentence, place the period outside the parentheses. If a comma is necessary, place it after the parentheses as well. Brackets are only for use within quotations. They mark material that the author has added to the quotation, a [sic] when the quotation contains a mistake, or changes to the quotation to keep with proper grammar. " '[T]he better angels of our nature,' is how Lincoln ended his first inaugural address." Because the phrase appeared mid-sentence in Lincoln's original speech, the "the" was not originally capitalized.

How to Use Dashes

Dashes introduce an added emphasis, an interruption, or a change of thought. They are subtly different than commas, semicolons, and other punctuations used for the same purpose. Use your discretion for which is best in the circumstance. Notice how the dash changes the tone of this sentence: "John, my only friend, came to help me move" vs. "John – my only friend – came to help me move."

For Tutoring in Plano, Texas

You can get all the grammar help you need at The Tutoring Center in Plano, TX. Our one-to-one tutoring programs are customized to meet your individual needs. Find out more about how to get help in writing, reading, math and more from our website. Call 469-277-8177 for a free diagnostic assessment.


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