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Hyphens for Clarity

Hyphens within a word can make some words clearer. They are frequently used with prefixes ending with the same vowel as the root begins with to show pronunciation or emphasize meaning. They are also frequently used to distinguish between words. Examples: co-op (instead of coop, also prefix ending with same vowel as root beginning) re-elect

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Semicolons in a Series

When the items in a series themselves contain commas, separate the items with semicolons. Incorrect: We visited Erie, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York, and Toronto, Ontario. (Confusing. Semicolons needed to make clear distinctions.) Correct: We visited Erie, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; and Toronto, Ontario.

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Than/Then

Than is a conjunction used with comparisons. It rhymes with pan. Then is an adverb that refers to time. It rhymes with pen. Examples: He likes you more than me. First you take a cup of flour, and then you sift it.

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Warranty/Warrantee/Warrant

A warranty (accent on first syllable) is a guarantee. A warrantee (accent on last syllable) is a person or party who is guaranteed something. Neither word is used as a verb. The verb form is warrant.

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Commas and Introductory Words

Commas are used to set off certain items that often begin a sentence and have no grammatical connection with the rest of the sentence. These items include certain common expressions, unemphatic interjections, and direct addresses. Common Expression: But of course, we have mustard in the car. Unemphatic Interjection: Yes, we have no bananas. Direct Address:

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