Category: Commas

i.e. vs. e.g.

Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, at 3:25 pm

Be honest now: do you know the difference between i.e.and e.g.? A lot of people think the two are virtually the same, but if they were, we’d only need one of them. So let’s break it down, once and for all. Writers use i.e. to restate the subject at hand: A good Samaritan (i.e., my neighbor Blake Smith) drove my …

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Essential and Nonessential Elements, Part III

Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2014, at 10:41 am

See what you can infer from this sentence: When my three siblings and I entered the dark house, my brother, Marky, got scared. A careful reader would know instantly that the author had one brother and two sisters. Why? Because of the commas surrounding Marky, which tell us that the brother’s name is nonessential. The commas enable the …

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Essential and Nonessential Elements, Part II

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, at 1:04 pm

Here is the rule again, in case you missed it: Essential elements in a sentence should not be enclosed in commas. Nonessential elements in a sentence should be enclosed by commas. Last time, we applied the rule to clauses. Today we’ll look at essential and nonessential phrases (a phrase is two or more related words …

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Essential, but Is It Important?

Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at 11:14 am

Commas are tricky little devils. Anyone who wants to use them correctly will at some point encounter the terms essential and nonessential. The rule is that so-called essential elements should not be enclosed in commas. Conversely, nonessential elements require commas fore and aft. By “elements” we mean clauses, phrases, and even single words. Today we …

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(All About) Parentheses

Posted on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at 9:25 pm

The singular form is parenthesis, but the plural parentheses is the word you’re more likely to see. Both words have a wide range of related meanings, and what some people identify as a parenthesis, others call parentheses. So let’s keep it simple. For our purposes, a parenthesis is one of a pair of curved marks …

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