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10/22/2015

More Punctuation for Composition Help

Here are some more punctuation rules to improve your writing.

Using Colons Correctly

A colon is like saying "that is to say." Use it to introduce a series of items, as in "I brought a lot of food: sandwiches, chips, hamburgers, and hot dogs." Do not use a colon after a verb or adverb. You would not write, "I want: sandwiches, chips, hamburgers, and hot dogs." Colons can also introduce long quotations, usually of two sentences or more. A colon is not a semicolon, and the two are not interchangeable, except when separating two independent clauses when the second will explain, rephrase, or expand on the first. For example, "I got what I deserved: I really earned that raise."

Quotation Marks

Use double quotation marks to set off exact, word-for-word quotations, and single quotation marks for quotations within a quotation. Add a space between single and double quotation marks when they are next to each other. Do not use quotation marks when writing, "He told me that Mary is going to the store." Always place periods and commas within the quotation marks. Quotation marks are also customary for titles of magazines, articles, books, and songs, though italics are also acceptable. Finally, use double quotation marks for technical terms, odd expressions, or words used in unusual ways.

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.

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