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Composition Help: Punctuation

Here are a few punctuation rules you can use to improve your writing.

Using Ellipses

An ellipsis (pl. ellipses) is that series of three dots you sometimes see when reading. Use ellipses to represent omission from a quotation. For example, if the complete sentence is: "We went to the store, after hours of debate, to buy some milk," you can quote the sentence as, " 'We went to the buy some milk.' " Ellipses also express hesitation, suspense, or trailing off. "Oh no! You don't think that she..."

Question Marks

Only use question marks at the end of direct questions, replacing the period. Do not write: "I'm asking if you will go to the dance with me?" You generally do not use question marks for rhetorical questions: "Why don't you rest a bit," or "What wouldn't I do for a Klondike bar!" When a quotation is involved, include the question mark within the quotation marks if the original quotation was a question. For example: I asked her, "Are you still my friend?"

Exclamation Points

Exclamation points express surprise, emphasis, or emotion. They replace periods at the end of a sentence. You should avoid using exclamation points in formal writing, unless it is really warranted.

How to Use Apostrophes

Apostrophes have many uses. They show possession, as in "John's car." Do not use apostrophes, however, with personal pronouns: his, hers, ours, etc. Remember that names or things ending in "s" should not add another "s" after the apostrophe. Apostrophes also replace missing letters in contractions, "don't," "can't," or "won't." Do not use apostrophes for plurals- "Apostrophe's are for possession, not plural's." When there are two or more owners of the same object, only place the apostrophe after the second owner: John and Mary's house.

For Tutoring in Plano, TX

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 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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