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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The Three Most Common Comma Rules

While there are many specific uses for commas, nearly eighty-five percent of the commas used in written English are used in a mere three situations. If you know the basic rule for these three cases, you can use commas in over four-fifths of the times you need to use commas. 1. Put a comma before

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Commas with Quotations

Commas are used to set off the “he said/she said” clause. The comma always goes before the quotation marks. Incorrect: Henrietta asked “Do you want to go with me?” (Comma must set off “she said” clause.) Incorrect: Henrietta asked”,Do you want to go with me?” (Comma must go before quotation mark.) Correct: Henrietta asked,”Do you

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Commas in Compound Sentences

Use a comma to separate independent clauses in a compound sentence when they are separated by a conjunction. The comma goes after the first clause and before the coordinating conjunction that separates the clauses. Make sure they are independent clauses and not some other construction where commas are not required. Correct: We washed the dog,

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