• MECHANICS

    II. PUNCTUATION

    Apostrophe
    forms the possessive case of nouns and pronouns.
             Bob"s book      the boy"s mother      Aristophanes" play
    marks omission of letters or numbers.
             didn"t                  o"clock                       Class of "97
    forms plural of numbers, figures, punctuated abbreviations, symbols, and letters referred to as words.
       Dot your i"s and cross your t"s.
       His 7"s look like 1"s.
       Two teachers have Ph.D."s
    .

    Colon
    must be followed by two spaces when typed.
    follows the greeting of a business letter.
       Dear Sir:      Dear Mr. Jones
    separates numerals indicating hours and minutes or volume and page numbers.
       10:00 P.M.      VII: 108-110
    introduces a list.
       Bring the following supplies: tools, a pencil, and paper.
    is always placed outside quotation marks.
       There was only one thing to do when he said, "I may
       not run": promise him a campaign contribution.

    Comma
    separates independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet) in a compound sentence.
       My friend smokes, but he still condemns pollution.
    should not be used to separate compound verbs.
       My friend smokes but still condemns pollution.
    separates an introductory word, clause, or phrase from the rest of the sentence.
       Before you can leave, you must find your book.
    separates words, phrases, or clauses in a series.
       The flag is red, white, and blue.
       We went over the river, through the woods, and
       onto the highway.
    should not be used when words in a series are connected with and, or, or nor.
       I plan to catch bass or trout or salmon.
    separates nonrestrictive or interrupting phrases and clauses from the rest of the sentence. ("Nonrestrictive" elements are not essential to the meaning of the sentence.)
       The story, after it was published, gained much notoriety.
       His answer, in my opinion, is meaningless.
       Raymond, who likes to ski, is my brother.
    should not be used to separate restrictive phrases or clauses. ("Restrictive" elements are essential to the meaning of the sentence.)
       The boy who likes to ski is my brother.
       The girl who is wearing the blue hat is my friend
    .
    separates adjectives that equally modify the same noun.
       The big, blue, bouncing ball.
    separates elements in addresses and dates.
       He was born on June 12, 1958, in New York, N.Y.
       I live at 319 Oak Road, Detroit, Michigan 48229
    .

    should not be used between the state and zip code or, on a typed envelope, between the city and official state abbreviation.
       Mr. John Doe
       4176 Pinehurst
       Centerville OH 40587

    separates explanatory words of a direct quotation from the rest of the sentence. (In American usage, commas always go inside the quotation marks.)
       Jane shouted, "Keep your eye on the road!"
       "I can"t find the cup," said John.

    is used to prevent confusion.
       What she does, does matter to us.
       Those who can, do; those who can"t, complain
    .

    End Marks (Required at end of all sentences. Two spaces follow end mark when typed.)

    (1) Period
    ends a sentence that makes a statement. (John ran to school.)
    follows an individual"s initials. (T. S. Eliot, A. J. Foyt)
    follows some abbreviations. (Dr., A.D., Jr.)
    does not follow abbreviations that are acronyms.
       TV, radar, NBC
    is always placed inside the quotation marks in American usage.
       My mother said, "I know you will do well in college."

    (2) Question Mark
    ends a direct question. (Are you tired?)
    does not end an indirect question. (I wonder if you are tired.)
    is placed inside the quotation marks when it punctuates the quotation.
       He asked, "Can you help?"
    is placed outside the quotation marks when it punctuates the whole sentence.
       Did she say, "Finish it tomorrow"?
      
    (3) Exclamation Point
    ends a sentence that expresses strong feeling. (I did it!)
    is placed inside quotation marks when it punctuates the quotation.
       He called, "Help!"
    is placed outside the quotation marks when it punctuates the whole sentence.
       She said, "You can finish it tomorrow"!

    Parentheses enclose explanatory material that interrupts the normal sentence structure.
    Punctuation goes inside the parentheses when intended to mark the material within.
       Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? (I haven"t,
       but I hope to go soon!)
    Punctuation goes outside the parentheses when intended to mark the whole sentence.
       Are you planning to visit the Grand Canyon (a wonderful
       spot!)?

    Quotation Marks enclose direct quotations and some titles (magazine or newspaper articles, episodes of TV or radio programs, songs, poems, short stories). In American usage, periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, regardless of sense. Semicolons and colons go outside. Exclamation points and question marks go either inside or outside according to the demands of the quoted material. (Please see "Underlining" below for titles that are designated with underlining or italics, rather than quotation marks.)
       They again demanded "complete autonomy"; the
       demand was rejected.
       "Brian," called Mom, "I can"t hear you!"


    Semicolon
    separates independent clauses not connected with a coordinate conjunction.
       I bought a condo; this is the first time I"ve had a
       mortgage.
    separates independent clauses not connected with a coordinate conjunction when the second clause begins with a conjunctive adverb (also, besides, however, thus, etc.).
       Speeding is illegal; furthermore, it is dangerous.
    separates items in a sentence that contain commas.
       Send copies to our offices in Detroit, Michigan;
       Springfield, Illinois; St. Louis, Missouri; and Denver,
       Colorado.

    Underlining designates some titles (books, magazines, newspapers, plays, films, radio and TV programs, ballets, operas, record albums, musical compositions, names of ships and aircraft). Printers and desk-top publishers use italics for this purpose, but underlining is used in handwritten and typed materials. (See "Quotation Marks" above for titles that are designated with quotation marks, rather than underlining or italics.)


    A Guide to Communication:The Grosse Pointe Public Schools Style Sheet
    © The Grosse Pointe Public School System, 2000