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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Commas

Do You Need Commas Before Conjunctions?

Posted on Friday, September 17, 2021, at 6:00 am

A common debate in English grammar can concern whether commas need to be used before conjunctions such as and, or, and but. These debates may stem from the fact that different people have been taught different guidelines about this punctuation. Style guides often differ about it as well. Today's post will help to clear things …

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The Oxford Comma

Posted on Monday, August 9, 2021, at 6:00 am

Writers and editors tend to have strong opinions about the Oxford comma. If you don’t regularly work with words and grammar, however, you might not even be aware of what the Oxford comma is although you might be using it (or not) in your writing. Let’s break down what you need to know about the …

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i.e. vs. e.g.: How to Use i.e. or e.g.

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 6:00 am

We've probably all either seen or written the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. Some of us may have understood them, and some of us may have not been sure. For example, perhaps we've come across a statement such as: Please bring something to the potluck dinner (i.e., salad, appetizer, dessert). The context of that statement doesn't …

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To Restrict or Not to Restrict: That Is the Question

Posted on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at 11:00 pm

Who, that, or which; restrictive or nonrestrictive: Most of us have at some point had to grapple with interpretation, pronoun choice, and punctuation for a statement containing essential or nonessential information. For example, what would be succinct within the following statements? Jayla always orders the surf and turf that the master chef prepares for her. …

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Connecting Sentences with Commas and Semicolons

Posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at 7:00 am

Many of you have been asking for help with punctuating between clauses and phrases within sentences. You want to know when you should use a comma and when you need a semicolon. Here are a few rules with examples that I hope you find very helpful. Commas Rule: Use a comma between two independent clauses …

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American vs. British English: Punctuation

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 11:00 pm

During the last several weeks we've covered some meaningful ground about the language we share with our friends across the water. For us, it's been fun to reflect on what we have in common as well as how each dialect varies its voice. So far, we've examined spelling, vocabulary, and points of grammar. We'll conclude …

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Diving Back into Dialogue: Part I

Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at 11:00 pm

We receive many questions from our readers about writing dialogue. We thought now would be a good time to revisit the subject; in doing so, we hope to answer questions some of you might still have. Format Each new line of dialogue is often indented on each line, enclosed in quotation marks, and attended by …

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How Did They Get In Here?

Posted on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Writers today have problems keeping their sentences internally consistent. This is especially true of print journalists. Because of staff cutbacks at financially challenged newspapers, many articles are proofread hastily, if at all. Combine that with the shocking decline in Americans’ English language skills over the last fifty years or so and you get sentences unworthy …

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Becoming Savvy with Sentence Structures: Part Three

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Sentence structures are the beams of the building of composition. The stronger and better formed they are, the firmer our communication foundation will be. Part One of our discussion introduced us to simple and compound sentences. In Part Two, we explored complex and compound-complex sentences. Let's take a brief look at all four as a …

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Becoming Savvy with Sentence Structures: Part One

Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 11:00 pm

The art of writing resembles any trade that begins with the basics and evolves into skillful applications of them. A key component of precise and eloquent composition is understanding sentence structures. English comprises four foundational sentence constructions: simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex. In part one of our discussion, we’ll review simple and compound sentences. Simple …

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