Punctuation Help

Discussion related to the topic Punctuation Help

Forum : All About Writing : Punctuation Help

Posted at: Apr 7, 2008 at 5:05 AM 
I thought I'd start off a thread for punctuation advice, because good punctuation is important to having clearly understandable writing. Here are some advice that might be helpful. Feel free to add your own.

Whenever a character is speaking, their words should be in quotation marks, and each separate piece of dialogue should have its own paragraph. If the dialogue is preceded by "he said" or some similar phrase, there should be a comma. If the dialogue is followed by "he said" or a similar phrase, the quote should end with a comma inside the quotation marks.

Dialogue Example
He said, "I like dialogue."

"Me too," she replied.

If you have a sentence which could be broken into two sentences (there are two distinct parts that both have a subject and verb), the two parts should be joined by a semicolon or by a conjunction - NOT BOTH.

Semicolon Examples
Two sentences: John went to the store. He wanted some ice cream.

One sentence with semicolon: John went to the store; he wanted some ice cream.

One sentence with conjunction: John went to the store because he wanted some ice cream.

Sylvan Sylph
Posted at: Apr 7, 2008 at 10:32 AM 
Two sentences should be joined by a conjunction and a comma before the coordinating conjunction if the two sentences can stand independent of one another. Doug's example uses a subordinating conjunction which turns the second part of the sentence into a dependent clause, so it doesn't require one. If you are using any of the following words between two complete sentences you need a comma preceding them: and, but, for, nor, or, yet, or so. I just don't want anyone to get confused and stop using their coordinating commas. Of course, I've probably thoroughly confused everyone with this explanation.

Also, a semi-colon is appropriate if the sentences are complex and contain a number of commas which would lead to confusion with sentence division. The rule of the English language is that there is an exception to every rule.
Forum : All About Writing : Punctuation Help

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