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PUNCTUATION THE “WRITE” WAY

PUNCTUATION THE “WRITE” WAY

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PUNCTUATION THE “WRITE” WAY

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  1. PUNCTUATION THE “WRITE” WAY San José State University Writing Center Dr. Jim Lobdell

  2. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …between compound elements that arenot independent clauses: • Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany, and came to the United States. • Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany and came to the United States. • Bertrand doesn’t know that his illness is serious, and that he may need an operation. • Bertrand doesn’t know that his illness is serious and that he may need an operation.

  3. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …to separate a verb from its subject or object: • Zoos that provide natural habitats for the animals, are being built in many cities. • Zoos that provide natural habitats for the animals are being built in many cities. • Margaret told Benjie the good news, that she was going to have a baby. • Margaret told Benjie the good news that she was going to have a baby.

  4. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …before the first or after the last item in a series: • Some causes of heart disease are, improper diet, too little exercise, and smoking. • Some causes of heart disease are improper diet, too little exercise, and smoking. • The life of wealth and fame that seems so easy, so free from care, and so glamorous, may actually be filled with tragedy. • The life of wealth and fame that seems so easy, so free from care, and so glamorous may actually be filled with tragedy.

  5. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …between cumulative adjectives or between an adjective and a noun: • In the attic we discovered an ancient, gold picture frame. • In the attic we discovered an ancient gold picture frame. • The trip was an expensive, foolish, self-indulgence. • The trip was an expensive, foolish self-indulgence.

  6. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …to set off essential elements in a sentence: • That man, who is wearing the messy clothes, is my sister’s new boyfriend. • That man who is wearing the messy clothes is my sister’s new boyfriend. • Don’t go to New Orleans at Mardi Gras, unless you love crowds of drunken people. • Don’t go to New Orleans at Mardi Gras unless you love crowds of drunken people.

  7. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …after a coordinating conjunction or afteralthough: • Some actors like doing movies, but, I prefer acting onstage. • Some actors like doing movies, but I prefer acting onstage. • Although, there are exceptions to the rules, this is not one of them. • Althoughthere are exceptions to the rules, this is not one of them.

  8. DO NOT USE A COMMA… …with a question mark or an exclamation point: • “You’re not going in there, are you?”, she asked in disbelief. • “You’re not going in there, are you?”she asked in disbelief. • “You’re ugly and I hate you!”, she screamed as she ran out the door. • “You’re ugly and I hate you!” she screamed as she ran out the door.

  9. DO NOT USE A SEMICOLON… …between an independent clause and the rest of the sentence: • Unless you first make sure that your computer is plugged in; calling customer service may not do any good. • Unless you first make sure that your computer is plugged in, calling customer service may not do any good.

  10. DO NOT USE A SEMICOLON… …to introduce a list: • There are a number of actors I’d like to meet in person; Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, and Vanessa Redgrave, for example. • There are a number of actors I’d like to meet in person: Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Johnny Depp, Jodie Foster, and Vanessa Redgrave, for example.

  11. DO NOT USE A SEMICOLON… …between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction: • Some people think of cars as a means of transportation;but others think of them as status symbols. • Some people think of cars as a means of transportation,but others think of them as status symbols.

  12. HOWEVER, YOU MAY MAKE ANEXCEPTION… …if one of the independent clauses contains one or more commas: • Some people think of cars, trucks, and other vehicles as a means of transportation;but others think of them as status symbols.

  13. DO NOT USE A COLON… …between a verb and its object or complement: • Some important food groups are: dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats. • Some important food groups are dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats.

  14. DO NOT USE A COLON… …between a preposition and its object: • A healthy diet is made up of: dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats. • A healthy diet is made up ofdairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats.

  15. DO NOT USE A COLON… …after such as, including,or for example: • Jo’s herb garden consists of many varieties commonly used in cooking, such as: parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. • Jo’s herb garden consists of many varieties commonly used in cooking, such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

  16. DO NOT USE AN APOSTROPHE… …with nouns that are not possessive: • The instructor’s for many of my classes have their doctorates. • The instructors for many of my classes have their doctorates.

  17. DO NOT USE QUOTATION MARKS… …around indirect quotations: • Simon stomped out of the room after Maria told him that “he’d better stop hanging around Dolores.” • Simon stomped out of the room after Maria told him that he’d better stop hanging around Dolores.

  18. PUNCTUATION PROOFREADING PRACTICE • Jeanne asked Gladys where she was going because they were almost late for class already. • Graciela’s kitten jumped out of its basket, ran across the floor, and scampered up the stairs. • If you plan to succeed in this class, two things you must remember are to do your reading assignments and to get your homework in on time.

  19. PUNCTUATION PROOFREADING PRACTICE • The decade of the ’90s wasn’t as much fun as the ’80s because I was getting older, I had some health problems, and my job became more difficult. • The new students came from Beijing, China; Santiago, Chile; Bangkok, Thailand; Madrid, Spain; and Los Angeles, California.

  20. PUNCTUATION PROOFREADING PRACTICE • Esme said that the tall, handsome, dark-haired guy who was leaning against the fence was Cici’s brother, and she’d really like to meet him. • Edison invented the electric lamp and later founded a major power company to supply electricity to millions of homes.