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20

They are all grammatically correct (as far as I'm aware), but I think they give different feelings. Parentheses feel like an aside to the audience, like a weaker form of footnotes. I use them a lot in technical writing — often to indicate bits that are optional or additional information/explanation, but that aren't necessary to read — and in more informal ...


14

In general, to convey poetic line breaks in "continuous text", replace the line break with a slash. "I've never seen a purple cow./I never hope to see one./But I can tell you anyhow,/I'd rather see than be one." I don't use Twitter so I can't say if this convention is commonly used there, but it's the normal convention in other contexts.


10

Actually, both commas should be removed from that sentence. The first one is a comma splice; it should be removed and replaced with a period, to create two complete sentences. That alone will help break up your unwieldy passage and make it easier to read. The second comma should be removed because you don't put punctuation after the conjunction near the end ...


10

How many commas is too many? When they're incorrectly used. There are four principal uses for a comma – As a listing comma in replace of words such as and, or etc. As a joining comma in joining two sentences together with and, or etc. As a gapping comma to show that words have been removed instead of repeated. As a bracketing (or isolating) comma to ...


10

Your first comma isn't the problem. It's that you have an interrupter and didn't put the second comma in. Then, when the smoke had cleared, Jane rushed over to her. An interrupter is a few words or a whole clause which interrupts the flow of the original framing sentence, and can be safely removed from the original sentence without making it ...


7

If you're using commas where they shouldn't be, they should obviously be removed. One less common example of the misuse of a comma that might happen is comma splicing - using commas to join two independent clauses and create a run-on sentence. It happens like this, sometimes you miss it because it looks like an subordinate clause. However, sometimes all ...


7

I think the ellipses are fine, but I agree with the comment from the original site that italics would work as well. But neither one really shows a question, to my reading. If you mean for someone to be emphasizing 'different', I'd use italics. "He's a different sort of person. Not like the others at all." If you mean for someone to be using ...


7

Punctuation marks, like words and paragraph breaks, are tools. Overuse of any tool will make your writing inelegant, but using the proper tool at the right time will help you generate pages that are well crafted and precisely assembled. In fiction, as in other kinds of writing, you'll still want to use the em dash to indicate interruptions, performing a ...


5

In dialogues (or monologues, or any transcriptions), commas are used for two reasons: 1- Logical separators as in formal grammar and; 2- to indicate oral pauses whether grammatically correct or not. Dashes (–) and ellipses (…) can also be used this way, usually at at a line's end. So, I'd say that if you are reciting the pledge itself as content then the ...


5

Do parentheses inhibit clarity? They do and they don't, it's all down to individual use. When used well and skillfully, parentheses fulfill a function that no other punctuation or construction can quite imitate. Their function is similar to em dashes (a woefully overused punctuation mark) and can also be used to mask off digressions (which can detract from ...


5

I like to say that much of the time when people use a comma, they really just want to use a period but don't know it. Elmore Leonard says that an exclamation point should not be used more than once per hundred thousand characters; I feel a similar rule should exist for commas. But, of course, Elmore Leonard doesn't make the rules and neither do I ...


5

...actually, so far as I know, one does not have stylistic freedom in using single or double quotes as one pleases. (Not in prose, anyway — all bets are off in poetry.) In American English, dialogue or other quoted material goes in double quotes: "There is no fate but what we make," she said. Quoted material inside a quote goes in single quotes: ...


5

Punctuation marks where invented to increase readability. So for God's sake, get rid of these semi-colons; my eyes are bleeding. If you really need the differentiation which shall be achieved with the semi-colons (comma and a non-comma-punctuation-mark), I would suggest parentheses: Speakers at tomorrow's conference include James T. Smith (vice ...


5

Your co-writer is a pain in the tuchus. I am sorry you have to put up with this annoying quirk of writing. That being said, I found two references so far: The Oxford Dictionaries: Bullet points are visually attractive and make it easy for a reader to locate important information. Nevertheless, try to use them sparingly: too many bullet-pointed sections ...


5

As long as you use two different sets of quotation marks readers should easily be able to follow the conversation. However, I think it would be more correct and more readable if you added a comma before the inner quotation. Of course, you could always avoid the dilemma by having Lisa describe Alison's words to her rather than recite them verbatim, "she ...


5

Commas are used to increase clarity. In each of your examples, a speaker would pause while reading the lines, indicating a comma is called for. A sentence with too many commas probably means the sentence is overly complicated. Your writing sample is first person and modern, so I would follow contemporary writing and speaking as a guide. A good reference for ...


4

I like what Theodore Bernstein says in "The Careful Writer" (original copyright 1965): There is some evidence that the use of parentheses has become more common in modern writing, particularly in critical and expository writing. Parentheses seem almost to have become a mark of "sophisticated," knowing style. They do have their uses in simplifying ...


4

First off, if you're writing for the government they might have a format they expect, so if so and it says something on this point, it wins. Otherwise, I would not use colons in any of your titles or paragraphs. The colon's job is to introduce what follows (e.g. in a list), but a title/subtitle/subsubtitle/etc structure already provides that implicitly. ...


4

I haven't checked what the classic style guides say on this, but my personal practice is that in such cases, I capitalize what comes after the colon. If each "point" is long enough to be its own paragraph, then I make the first one its own paragraph also. Like: A hypothetical solution might be set up like this: First, we can use a table to record ...


4

When you have "bullet points," the character you use for the bullet is irrelevant. If you can't mix full sentences and fragments with bullets, you can't mix them with "hyphen points" either. So the same rules apply. • Free shipping on orders over $25 is the same as ~ Free shipping on orders over $25 There's no difference in regards to punctuation or ...


4

This is very much a style issue. I'll share what I'd do but it may not work for you at all. Brenda Ueland's writing style (specifically in If You Want to Write) taught me that most times I want to put in a comma or other spacing punctuation I'm better off with nothing, or a period. I'll be combining this with Strunk's admonishment that "rich, ornate prose ...


4

When writing a list like this, you have several options for how you want to style the text. In business writing, such as an email, you can always format this as a bulleted list: Please send the email to the following recipients: Jason, Chief Information Officer Sarah, President Courtney, Investor This has the advantage of being ...


4

The difference is that the first sentence doesn't have a tag. It's a line of dialogue followed by a complete sentence. The second sentence is dialogue followed by a dialogue tag. Your first set of examples is punctuated correctly — when you use a tag, the dialogue ends in a comma, and the tag starts with a lowercase letter. This also applies to ...


4

If you have a full sentence as a parenthetical, you generally don't capitalize and punctuate it that way. So it normally appears: Dick and Jane watch Spot run (they know Spot likes to chase cars). But when you have more than one sentence in the parenthetical, you have to indicate where each complete sentence stops and starts. To avoid the weird .). ...


4

It's not a run-on sentence, but it is a bit awkward, comma-wise. If it's clear that Dr. Sharon writes books, I think I'd eliminate the word book and then get rid of that comma. And unless the patient's name is important I'd eliminate it as well. If the name is vital, maybe it could go in a second sentence? And I'd drop the Oxford comma. According to Dr. ...


3

I don't think there's any simple metric. Like, no one can say you should have twenty-seven commas per page or anything like that. The first question would be, Do you have commas in inappropriate places? If you have sentences like, "Bob walked, to, the store, slowly" then yes, there are too many commas. But a sentence that contains a list could legitimately ...


3

I think that's the default in Spanish; I grew up reading stuff written that way, and I find the quotes... strange. I do use it a lot to add description to the dialogue. The way I use it slightly different to yours, though: Rick and Nelly walked through the cathedral. -- It always makes me feel cold when I come here, - he said shivering. - I think ...


3

(I'm answering this from a point-of-view of readability. If your corporate communications are subject to any internal style sheets or style guide such as AP or Chicago - since you have a policy on the serial comma, I'm inclined to think they are - please also consult those. If this does get migrated to English, you'll doubtless get all kinds of more ...


3

I could reword this for you ten million ways, but a better answer would be that you should do it yourself. When you need to break down a horrific run-on sentence, just separate out the different things you want to say and try reordering them in a handful of ways with different comma and period placements. If the first five wordings don't work, make five ...



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