Punctuation

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Single Quotation Marks

Use single quotation marks for a quotation or title using quotation marks inside another quotation or title which uses quotation marks. Incorrect: She asked, “How many of you have read “The Lady of Shalott”?” (“The Lady of Shalott” is a poem. Same kind of quotation mark confuses reader.) Correct: She asked, “How many of you

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Apostrophes with Underlined or Italicized Items

Letters, numbers, symbols, and words used as themselves are italicized or underlined. See Underlining or Italicizing Items that Name Themselves for more on this. When these items are made plural, the plural is shown by adding apostrophe s to the underlined or italicized item. The apostrophe and s are not italicized or underlined. Some authorities

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When NOT to Use Commas

With Compound Verbs Do not use a comma to separate the paired parts in paired compound subjects or compound verbs. Incorrect: She lets me watch her mom, and pop fight. (Compound subject. No need for comma with the word and already there.) Correct: She lets me watch her mom and pop fight. Incorrect: They would

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Underlining Foreign Words or Abbreviations

Underline or italicize foreign words or abbreviations unless they are regularly used in English. Because the English language is very flexible, it may sometimes be hard to tell whether some words are widely used. Check any word or phrase you have a question about in a dictionary. Clearly words like champagne or chimpanzee or an

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Apostrophes with Verb Contractions

Apostrophes generally show missing letters in contractions. In most formal writing such contractions should be avoided. The most common contractions involve verbs in five situations. 1. Verbs with not contracted, or shortened. Examples: aren’t don’t isn’t wasn’t can’t weren’t weren’t wouldn’t doesn’t hasn’t haven’t couldn’t Note: The word won’t is a contraction of will not–in

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