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The rules of punctuation thread

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by Jacob'sDad, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Barbzzz

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    Unthawed. I'd rather have a pencil shoved in my ear than hear that non-word.

    I sometimes tout myself as a writer/editor (and in the last 6 months I've been earning good money under that pretense), but I'm not trained in either the AP or the Chicago style or any style for that matter. It's the Barbara style. It's the style that sounds right to my ear; conversational and fluid. If that means that I have to start a sentence with AND or BUT, then so be it. If that means that I end a sentence in a preposition, then so be it. If it means that I'm grammatically incorrect, tough noogies. I just like how it sounds.
     
  2. Karenwith4

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    Actually, it depends on whether the punctuation "belongs" to the phrase inside the quotations or to the sentence.

    Can you believe she said "you're welcome"?
    The question mark falls outside the quotation marks because the entire sentence is a question.

    Yesterday, she asked me, "How do I get there?".
    The question mark goes inside because only the phrase How do I get there? is the question. The rest of the sentence is not a question and so it ends in a period.
    The double punctuation (question mark for the phrase and then the period outside the quotes) looks funny but it is correct. It's now common to skip the period at the end of a sentence if there is a period immediately inside the quotation marks at the end of a sentence - ie you probably won't often use .". as punctuation at the end of a sentence but you will see and use ?". and !".

    As for commas they can be tricky. I love this quote:
    I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.
    — Oscar Wilde


    Here are the rules I was taught, and that I teach my kids as general guidelines
    1. Commas go in a list to separate items. Traditionally in English they go after every item in a list including the one before the word and, but this is falling out of popular use.
    She sent me to the store to get bread, milk, eggs, juice, and cheese. It is acceptable to drop the comma after juice.

    2. Use a comma to separate phrases (often where you would pause, add emphasis, and/or take a breath if you were reading the sentence out loud).
    The young woman on the bus, who was seated at the back, had the best view of the accident and gave the most complete description to police. (you could put a comma after the word accident as well and it would be considered acceptable).
    I told you the car was red, not blue. (with red being emphasised).

    3. Use to separate interjections or conjunctions (watch schoolhouse rock!).
    My kids are adorable, but very loud.
    Your kids are adorable, but frankly, they are louder than mine.

    4. To set off a quote within a sentence.
    My favourite environmental author, Rachel Carson, once said, "If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life."

    There are some more rules, but those cover the most common usage.

    I love grammar - I just wish I was inclined to use it properly more often - lol.
    Karen
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  3. StillMamamia

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    OMG, I just got up and am seeing this thread, and despite not being fully awake, my belly already hurts from laughter. :D

    Just wanted to clear up something here. Maybe it's because I'm feeling like crap lately, so I'm more 'sensitive' than usual.
    The pet-peeve about spelling and grammar I mentioned in the other thread is NOT about people on here. It is about people in 'real' life. I couldn't care less how it's written here. I don't want anyone taking offense to that. I probably came across as a big old box of snottiness, but I'm really not. Ok, enough said.

    Just wanted to share also that, I love the English language, or any other language for that matter. I love learning the origins of words too. Grammar and punctuation, however, I've always hated, because of the exceptions it has. In my English class in HS in the US, we used Strunk & White's 'The Elements of Grammar'. Great thin book. It was our bible, so to speak. As a side story, I learned English at the age of 12 years, and it's become my 2nd mother-tongue.

    Oh, about the apostrophes: ' is for possessives, contractions. " is for quotes. Funny thing is I tend to use ' more often because I'm too lazy to search the " on my keyboard. Actually, ' is easier because I have it on the right side, and the " is on the left, and I have to press the key between Caps Lock and Ctrl and then the " key so it types out. That's too much work:D

    Irregardless, y'all have a great day now:D
     
  4. Tigerlilly's mom

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    I know that I am guilty of this....and I blame it on my Boston accent!!!!;)

    *By the Way, in "real life" I use spell check and check my grammar in any correspondence, but here on the forums, my mind is going much faster than my fingers so I often have MANY errors in my posts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  5. Nancy in VA

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    I read on several message boards and this type of thread comes up once in a while.

    During this time of year, the spelling that drives me nuts is PRINCIPAL.

    When you believe strongly in something, you are forming your "principles".
    When you are talking to the person in charge of the school, you are talking to the "principal" - as in, he is your "pal"

    "You definitely need to talk to the principal about your principles."

    With the beginning of school, threads on several boards I read are talking about school and these words are misused.

    Like fingernails on the chalkboard
     
  6. frizzyrazzy

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    i am guilty of definately and not definitely. No matter how many times I tell myself that it doesn't have an "a", my fingers type it that way. But I pronounce it de-fin-AT-ly, not de-fin-IT-ly, so that is probably why.

    Someone else asked about Justin's meter. That is correct. the meter belongs to Justin, so apostrophe s is correct. If you were at a convention of people named Justin who had diabetes and you were talking about all them and all of their meters you'd say Justins' meters. lol

    I think a lot of people are like me - I know the rules, but on the message board I don't use them as I should. I think of message boards being much more casual talk, and not as forma as written word. Now, if I'm sending a real letter from home I do know how things are supposed to look.
     
  7. twodoor2

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    Also, when you indicate a number, you should spell it out rather than writing the number itself, unless you're writing out an equation.

    "It was four hours after the last test."

    instead of

    "It was 4 hours after the last test."

    However, most people on this board, including myself, often use numbers instead of writing out the whole word. It's shorter and easier that way. :eek:
     
  8. Karenwith4

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    We were taught in school that you write out numbers one to ten and use numerals for numbers greater than that unless you are using a term like hundreds or millions in a non specifc way.

    I sometimes wonder how much of this is different in Canada versus the US. I do know that when I worked in PR there were differences in conventions between AP and CP style books.
     
  9. Jacob'sDad

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    It's about time somebody caught that! I was starting to think I was going to get away with it!

    OK, is anybody ready for me to punctuate this sentence so it makes sense?

    James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.
     
  10. Jacob'sDad

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    What's the correct way to write time?
    Is 4am correct? Or is it 4AM, or 4 am, or 4 AM, or 4:00am, or 4:00 am, or 4:00AM, or 4:00 AM, or four am, or four AM, or four o'clock am, or four o'clock AM, or ... well, I could start in with military time, but you get my point.:p

    BTW, is it LOL or lol? Is it BTW or btw? Since BTW almost always starts a sentence shouldn't it be Btw?
     
  11. caspi

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    That's what we were taught as well. But then again, for me that was back in the stone ages, so things may have changed since then!:p
     
  12. Lisa P.

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    No, wait, :eek:give me the rules first. Just commas, or any kind of punctuation? Any hints? I'll never get it, but I want to try first. Then you'd better tell us the answer.
     
  13. Lisa P.

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    Oh nevermind, you can give me all the hints you want, I'll never get this. Worse than suduko. What's the answer?!!!
     
  14. BozziesMom

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    I think even people who know correct spelling and punctuation are going to have typos on occasion anyway. It's hardest to edit yourself, and when in stream of consciousness, you're not always aware of your fingers ignoring the rules that live in your brain.
     
  15. BozziesMom

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    Question marks, periods and commas most often go inside; colons and semicolons go outside the quotation mark.

    Question marks can end up outside sometimes, like so:

    Did you say "pin" or "pen"?
     
  16. saxmaniac

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    insure/ensure: you probably mean ensure, unless you are an insurance agent and actuarial tables make you excited.

    Sometimes I feel really stupid for spelling things right and using proper grammar. Whenever I get emails from higher-ups in any company I work for, they are invariably composed like 12th grader:

    hey scott would you make sure the next release has a fix bug 7123 in it.... we make sure that garbanzoCorp has, this fix by sept

    Love it. Clearly, success and English and not correlated.
     
  17. Lisa P.

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    You guys seen this one?

    Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
     
  18. Lisa P.

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    Or this one?

    Eye halve a spelling chequer
    It came with my pea sea,
    It plainly marques four my revue
    Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

    Eye strike a key and type a word
    And weight for it two say,
    Weather eye and wring oar write
    It shows me strait a weigh.

    As soon as a mist ache is maid
    It nose bee fore two long,
    And eye can put the error rite
    Its rare lea ever wrong.

    To rite with care is quite a feet
    Of witch won should bee proud,
    And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
    Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

    Eye have run this poem threw it
    Your sure reel glad two no,
    Its letter perfect awl the weigh
    My chequer tolled me sew.

    -Sauce unknown
     
  19. StillMamamia

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  20. My_Dana

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    That is very interesting.
    And yet some people (like my wife) can easily spot a misspelled word in that pool of many.

    A few that drive me crazy
    1. Acrosst - as in 'acrosst the lake'
    2. Heighth - as 'his heighth is about average for his age'.
    3. Yous guyzez - as in "what are yous guyzez doing tonight?".

    These are more spoken errors and unique to an area, like Pittsburgh.
    "Yins guyzez better red up that room!"
     

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