Punctuation

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Hyphenated Compound Words

Hyphens are used internally in some compound words to separate the words forming the compound word. Examples: merry-go-round editor-in-chief When unsure of the hyphenation of such words, check a dictionary. Usage may vary. As some words are more widely used, the hyphen is dropped. For example, in the early 1800s the word blackbird was usually

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Quotation Marks in Dialogue

Begin a new paragraph with every change of speaker. Incorrect: “Hello, Mary,” Jeffrey stammered. “Hi, Jeffrey, how are you?” “Uh, fine. What have you been doing lately?” Correct: “Hello, Mary,” Jeffrey stammered. “Hi, Jeffrey, how are you?” “Uh, fine. What have you been doing lately?” For quotations longer than a single paragraph, put quotation marks

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Quotation Marks in Titles

Use quotation marks to set off the title of a short written work or parts of a longer work. Short works include short stories, chapters from a book, one-act plays, short poems, essays, songs, and articles. Parts of a longer work include episodes in a series, songs, parts of a longer music composition, or an

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Apostrophes Showing Possession

An apostrophe is normally used with the letter s to show ownership or possession. With most singular nouns, simply add an apostrophe plus the letter s to do this. An apostrophe plus s is never added to make a noun plural–even a proper noun. Incorrect: This is Joans jacket. (Possessive form needs the apostrophe) Correct:

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Quotation Marks with Slang

Nonstandard or unusual slang terms are normally put in quotation marks. Keep in mind what is slang today may be widely used tomorrow. For example, when people first started getting arrested for using crack cocaine when it was a new product in the 1980s, news reports usually put the word “crack” in quotation marks. It

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