Category: Periods

Comma Chameleon

Posted on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at 11:28 am

I realize that on the grand scale of interesting things, punctuation is pretty far down the list. (In a recent survey, it was in a dead heat with stovepipes, just behind pocket lint.) Punctuation is a dying art. I’m not sure whether this is the writers’ or the readers’ fault, but I mostly blame the …

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Year-End Quiz

Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at 1:53 pm

To say goodbye to 2016 we have put together a comprehensive pop quiz based on the year’s GrammarBook.com grammar posts. The quiz comprises twenty-three sentences that may—or may not—need fixing plus two multiple-choice questions. Think you can fix the ones that need help? You’ll find our answers directly below the quiz. Each answer includes, for …

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Punctuation or Chaos

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at 9:43 am

She said I saved the company No one knows for sure what the above sentence means. It consists of six everyday words, and the first five are monosyllables, yet this simple declarative sentence has at least three quite different meanings—maybe more, because with no period on the end, the reader can’t even be sure the …

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All About etc.

Posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, at 1:53 pm

The abbreviation etc. is from the Latin et cetera, which means “and other things.” It appears at the end of a list when there is no point in giving more examples. Writers use it to say, “And so on” or “I could go on” or “You get the idea.” In American English, etc. ends in a period, even midsentence. …

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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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