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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Commas

Commas with Clauses

Posted on Sunday, January 6, 2013, at 6:48 pm

Rule - When starting a sentence with a weak clause, use a comma after it. Conversely, do not use a comma when the sentence starts with a strong clause followed by a weak clause. Examples: If you are not sure about this, let me know now. Let me know now if you are not sure …

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Commas to Separate a City and State

Posted on Sunday, December 16, 2012, at 3:27 pm

Rule – Use a comma to separate the city from the state, and always put one after the state, also. Example: I lived in Denver, Colorado, for 20 years. NOTE: The U.S. Postal Service's two-letter capitalized abbreviations (e.g., CO for Colorado, IL for Illinois) are not recommended in formal writing. However, when writing an address …

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Commas in Titles

Posted on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, at 3:25 pm

Rule – Use commas to set off the name or title of a person directly addressed. Examples: Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me? Yes, Doctor, I will. NOTE: Capitalize a title when directly addressing someone. Joshua, please remember to buy lettuce. Please remember to buy lettuce, Joshua. Rule - Use commas to surround …

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Commas with Adjectives

Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2012, at 12:41 pm

In this lesson, we'll examine a more advanced concept for using the comma. Rule: Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the adjectives are interchangeable. Examples: He is a strong, healthy man. We could also say a healthy, strong man. We stayed at an expensive summer resort. We would not say summer expensive resort, …

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Commas with Dates and Series

Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at 6:59 pm

There are many uses for the comma in English grammar. Let’s look at a couple of them. Rule 1: To avoid confusion, use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more. Examples: John likes to eat a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausage, toast, and chocolate! (Omitting the comma after …

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Commas with Nonessential Elements

Posted on Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at 9:45 am

Today, we'll examine two more uses for the comma. Rule 1: If something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description following it is considered nonessential and should be surrounded by commas. Examples: Freddy, who has a limp, was in an automobile accident. (Freddy is named, so the description of him that immediately follows is not …

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The Power of Punctuation

Posted on Saturday, August 9, 2008, at 7:59 pm

If you question the necessity of punctuation, here is a story that should illustrate its power. A professor wrote on the chalkboard: A woman without her man is nothing. He asked students to correct any punctuation errors. While most of the male students saw nothing wrong with the sentence, most of the females rewrote the …

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Capitalization After Colons

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2007, at 6:46 pm

Have you run across the situation where one sentence ending with a colon is followed by another sentence? Do you capitalize the first word of that second sentence? Why would you use a colon between the two sentences rather than a period or a semicolon? Rule for colons between sentences: Use a colon instead of …

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Commas with Appositives

Posted on Sunday, September 2, 2007, at 7:11 pm

The definition of an appositive is a word or word group that defines or further identifies the noun or noun phrase preceding it. Rule: When an appositive is essential to the meaning of the noun it belongs to, don’t use commas. When the noun preceding the appositive provides sufficient identification on its own, use commas …

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Quotations Within Quotations

Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007, at 1:18 am

Almost all of us have found ourselves confused with double and single quotation marks. When do we use single quotation marks? Where does the punctuation go with single quotation marks? With just a few rules and examples, you will feel surer about your decisions. How to Quote a Quote Rule: Use single quotation marks inside …

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