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 in a Series

Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses in a series. A conjunction goes between the last two items of the series. While some authorities say that the comma before the conjunction is optional, leaving it out may cause confusion, so it is better to include it. Words: Use commas to separate

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Commas with Adjectives Following Nouns

Sometimes for emphasis adjectives or paired adjectives follow the noun they modify. The adjective or adjective pair is then set off by commas. Correct: The car, bright red, stood out in the parking lot. The adjective pair, if coordinate adjectives, must use the word and to separate the two adjectives. Correct: The dessert, sweet and

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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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