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Punctuation Tips Comma (,) 1. Use commas to separate items in a series.

Example: Our itinerary included Rome, London, and Madrid. 2. Use a comma before and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet, when they join independent clauses (unless the clauses are short). Example: The story gets off to a slow start, but it gets exciting toward the end. 3. Use commas to set off nonessential clauses and phrases. Example: My father, who started this company, really knows his stuff. 4. Use a comma after introductory elements. Examples: Well, how do you do? Before you leave, turn off the lights. 5. Use commas to set off an expression that interrupts a sentence. Examples: The article in The Herald, our local paper, is about writing skills. Cabs in New York, I'm certain, obey the speed limit. 6. Use a comma in certain conventional situations (to separate items in dates and addresses, after the salutation and closing of a letter, and after a name followed by a title). Examples: January 1, 1992 New York, NY Dear Shirley, Cordially, Albert Schweitzer, Ph.D.

Apostrophe (') 1. To form the possessive case of a singular noun, add an apostrophe and an s. Examples: Bob's car; One's home. If the addition of an "s" produces an awkward sound, add only the

apostrophe. Usually, this is when there is already a double "s" sound. Examples: Moses'; for old times' sake; for goodness' sake. 2. To form the possessive case of a plural noun, add an apostrophe after the s. Example: girls' teams. If the plural form of the word does not end in s, add an apostrophe and an s. Example: women's team. 3. Use an apostrophe to show where letters have been omitted in a contraction. Examples: can't = cannot; it's = it is.

Semicolon (;) 1. Use a semicolon between independent clauses not joined by and, but, nor, for, yet, and so. Example: Read what you've written; don't just pass it on. 2. Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by such words as for example, besides, nevertheless, etc. Example: I think he's right; however, it's difficult to know. 3. Use a semicolon between items in a series if the items contain commas. Example: Winners in the competition were Bill, first place; Amy, second place; and Jeff, third place.

Colon (:) 1. Use a colon to mean "note what follows." Example: When you go to training, take these items: paper, pencil, and an alert mind. 2. Use a colon before a long, formal statement or quotation.

Example: We remember Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: Four score and seven years ago....

Hyphen (-) 1. Use a hyphen to divide a word at the end of a line. Example: If you are not sure where to hyphenate a word, look it up in the dictionary. 2. Hyphenate a compound adjective when it precedes the word it modifies. Examples: fast-moving train, long-distance runner.

Dash (--) 1. Use a dash to indicate an abrupt break in thought. Example: The truth is--and you probably know it--we can't do without you. 2. Use a dash to mean namely, in other words, or that is before an explanation. Example: It was a close call--if he had been in a worse mood, I don't think I'd still be here.

Quotation Marks (" ") 1. Put periods and commas inside quotes. 2. Put colons and semicolons outside quotes. Exclamation Point (!) 1: a mark used especially after an interjection or exclamation to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling

2: a distinctive indication of major significance or interest Period (.) Use the period (full stop) to denote a full stop at the end of a statement. The period ( . ) is one of the most commonly used punctuation marks. Example: The payment was received yesterday. Slash (/) o The slash can replace the word and to join two nouns. By replacing and with a slash, you suggest that there is equal importance to both characteristics. Use these replacements in moderation to place greater emphasis where and may not do so as well as not to confuse the reader. You can also do the same for or, as in his/her. However, you should not use the slash to separate independent clauses, as shown below. CORRECT "The student and part-time employee has very little free time." "The student/part-time employee has very little free time." INCORRECT "Do you want to go to the grocery store, or would you prefer to go to the mall?" "Do you want to go to the grocery store / would you prefer to go to the mall?"