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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Semicolons

Semicolon Use in Lists

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 6:00 am

A properly inserted semicolon helps to provide pause and clarifying separation in sentences. It also connects closely related thoughts. In this review, we’ll further consider how the semicolon operates in forming lists that involve items in a series. Semicolons Use in Lists: Items with Internal Punctuation Some of us at some point may have come …

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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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Composing with Conjunctive Adverbs

Posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Many of us probably use conjunctive adverbs without being aware we’re doing so. Further understanding their role aids our precision with their inclusion in our writing. Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that connect related main (independent) clauses. They provide a transition between sentences, typically by comparing and contrasting statements or demonstrating cause and effect. They include …

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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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Year-End Quiz 2018

Posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at 11:00 pm

Another year of grammatical exploration has concluded with linguistic miles behind us. What we’ve learned and discussed with you along the way has been illuminating, and we are grateful for the thought and insight it has inspired. We hope you gathered even more sharpened tools for communicating in concise and eloquent English. A year-end review …

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So Tell Me—When Is It Correct to Use So

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at 11:00 pm

So: It’s among the shortest words in English, and use of it abounds. So, when are we going to meet up? That movie was so good. I so much want to be there. He’s not feeling well, so he probably won’t go to the meeting. The word has become a versatile agent for our language …

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Oxford Comma Dispute Settled

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at 8:30 am

Eleven months ago, in our newsletter of March 29, 2017, we passed along to you the newspaper article "Lack of Comma Costs Company Millions in Dispute." Our Rule 1 of Commas discusses the value of the Oxford comma in a series of three or more items. Our rule allows writers to exercise discretion as to whether to omit …

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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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Copy Editors Are People Too

Posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, at 9:38 am

There can’t be many books about the life and adventures of a professional word doctor, but one that came out in 2015 is definitely worth a look. It’s Between You and Me, by Mary Norris, a longtime New Yorker copy editor who calls herself a “comma queen.” Norris admits that the book’s very title is a grammar lesson: …

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