Punctuation

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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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Commas with Geographical Names

When a geographical name or location has two or more parts to it, use a comma after each different type of part. A second comma follows the last item, unless it comes at the end of the sentence. Incorrect: I meant Pittsburg Kansas instead of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Commas needed to separate city and state) Incorrect:

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Commas with Dates

When a date is made up of two or more parts, use a comma to separate the parts when the parts both are words or both are numbers. A second comma follows the last item unless it is at the end of a list or sentence. Incorrect: We will meet Friday July 15. (Word Friday

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Commas with Titles that Follow Names

Each title that follows a name is set off by commas. Incorrect: Kenneth Griffey Jr. could have broken Maris’ record. Correct: Kenneth Griffey, Jr., could have broken Maris’ record. Correct, if pompous: The book was written by John Kenneth Galbraith, A.B., M.A., Ph.D., D.Sc., Litt.D. (Note that each title is set off by commas.) Numerical

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