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Department of English Grammar

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Posts tagged comma

The comma is probably the most misunderstood (yet most commonly used) punctuation.

For a thorough explanation on the proper use of the comma, read this excellent piece from the New York Times called “The Most Comma Mistakes.”

If you prefer a tl;dr version, read this Quick Guide to Commas from the always excellent Purdue OWL.

Cheers.

(Ralph GIF source: GIPHY)

The comma is probably the most misunderstood (yet most commonly used) punctuation.

For a thorough explanation on the proper use of the comma, read this excellent piece from the New York Times called “The Most Comma Mistakes.”

If you prefer a TL;DR version, read this Quick Guide to Commas from the always excellent Purdue OWL.

Cheers.

Anonymous asked:

Yo, Grammar: When I start a sentence with when, do I always need the comma?

I answered:

If you’re using “when” as part of an introduction, then yes:

  • When I was young, I used to go fishing every Sunday with my grandfather.
  • When the clock strikes 12, the spell will wear off.
  • When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • When Sherlock jumped from the building, my friend passed out.

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But if you’re starting a sentence with “when” as in the following sentences, then no:

  • When is the party?
  • When were you born?
  • When should I order pizza?

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What’s up with the semicolon?

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That basically answers what a semicolon does. If you are studying for the SAT exam, you definitely need to master the semicolon; it appears frequently. (See what we did there?)

The comma, for which the semicolon is often misused, is much more complicated. Luckily, an excellent piece from the New York Times delves into the misunderstood punctuation that is the comma.

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If you have additional questions, feel free to tweet us @The_YUNiversity.

Cheers.

What’s up with punctuations in and around quotation marks?

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Before we get started, the answer to your question actually depends on where you live.

More specifically, THE FOLLOWING RULES ARE FOR AMERICAN ENGLISH, which is very strict when it comes to putting commas and periods in and around quotation marks. British English uses rules that allow the writer to determine whether the period or comma belong with the quotation or are part of the larger sentence. (See below.)

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If you want to be “safe," go with the rules for American English: if nothing else, it’s consistent and "predictable." (See what we did there with the punctuations after "safe" and "predictable"?)

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What’s up with punctuations in and around quotation marks?

Before we get started, the answer to your question actually depends on where you live.

More specifically, THE FOLLOWING RULES ARE FOR AMERICAN ENGLISH, which is very strict when it comes to putting commas and periods in and around quotation marks. British English uses rules that allow the writer to determine whether the period or comma belong with the quotation or are part of the larger sentence. (See below.)

If you want to be “safe,” go with the rules for American English: if nothing else, it’s consistent and “predictable.” (See what we did there with the punctuations after “safe” and “predictable”?)

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