Punctuation

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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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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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Commas with Paired Adjectives

Coordinate Adjectives If two adjectives modify a noun in the same way, place a comma between the two adjectives. These are called coordinate adjectives. There is a two-part test for coordinate adjectives: (1) Can you replace the comma with the word and? (2) Can you reverse the order of the adjectives and keep the same

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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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Commas After Introductory Phrases

Use a comma to separate a group of prepositional phrases of more than four words when the phrases come at the beginning of a sentence. Do not use a comma between separate phrases unless they are in a series. A comma may also set off a single prepositional phrase at the beginning to make the

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