Website Addresses

When transcribing a website address, I recommend that you do it exactly as it would be when it is typed into the browser.

…purchased on…
…that great blog on…

And though it looks weird, if it begins a sentence, it would not be capped unless it is always capped.

… has the information…

Happy punctuating!


Parties to the Lawsuit

These parties to the lawsuit — plaintiff, defendant, defense — are not capped in general context in the transcript.

…spoke with plaintiff on the phone…
…sent to the defense…
…saw the defendant at the scene…

These parties to the lawsuit — city, county, state, government — are capped in general context in the transcript.

…accused the City of not maintaining the sidewalk in a usable condition…
…done on behalf of the State…
…the Government will prove…

Happy punctuating!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

To each of you that has read even one post this year and to all of you that are reading this for the first time, I wish you blessings and peace for the season and into the new year.

We will jump back into English with both feet later this week. I have big plans for the new year — online seminars, CSR English review, a grammar class, and my new book.


A Personal Note

Dear readers,

With the events in Connecticut, I must say that I have just not been up to writing about English. So much seems unimportant in the wake of the slaughter of little children.

It is my prayer that, as a nation, we take some action to begin to change the violent nature of our society. And I pray fervently for the healing of us all from this horror.


Adverb Clauses at the Beginning…

When an adverb clause — it has a subject and verb and a word out in front of it that is part of the clause and is used to answer when, where, why, how — starts a sentence, it is always followed by a comma.

…If you see her later, please ask her to…
…When she drove away from the scene, did you notice that…
…Because it was raining hard, we made a turn into…

Sometimes these clauses are “elliptical,” which means the subject and/or the verb are missing, they still have a comma after them.

…If necessary, we will send it on…
“If necessary” is short for “if it is necessary.”

…As expected, they were all…
“As expected” is short for “as it was expected.”

Elliptical clauses are punctuated exactly the way the full clause is punctuated.

On April 6 and 7, I will be giving a four-hour seminar on sentence structure and clauses. Details to come. This is possibly the most important aspect of punctuation to understand!

Happy punctuating!



An Interesting Quote Question

This was a FB question:

…It is a “Don’t worry. It’s okay. I understand” situation…

It is okay to have the periods in the middle of the quoted material that is an adjective.

Commas don’t work because these are little sentences.

Hyphenating this kind of pattern is really not going to be readable.

Happy punctuating!


“Jibe,” “Gibe,” “Jive” — and This Is Just the Beginning

Much of my time is being consumed these days with my efforts to write my new book — Word Pares, Pears, Pairs. I am determined to have it out by the end of January!

Apropos of my new book, there was a question on Facebook this week about the word jibe versus jive and gibe. Jibe means “to be in accord” or “agree” as in

…It doesn’t jibe with the figures I have.
…It doesn’t jibe with the facts in the case.

Jive is a kind of talk or dance; gibe means “to taunt” or “to jeer.” You can read all about it in my new book.

Are you excited to see it?? I am. Stay tuned.

Happy punctuating!



Those “Conjunctive Adverbs” Again

When certain adverbs are pulled out to the front of a sentence and are used to form a bridge — that is, show a relationship — between two sentences, they become conjunctions which we call conjunctive adverbs. Some of them are

moreover, however, nevertheless, therefore, consequently
thus, hence, yet, still, then, so

(Here is where I would make the argument that so and yet are not coordinate conjunctions. They are adverbs that are, when they are out in the front of a sentence, used to connect two sentences. We call these conjunctive adverbs.)

Conjunctive adverbs connect two independent sentences and take a period or semicolon in front of them and a comma after if they have more than one syllable.

…He arrived very late; therefore, he was not included in the discussion.
…She was also in the car; however, she was not injured.

…The surgery was scheduled for Friday; still we knew there could be a last-minute glitch.
…We turned left at the intersection; then we proceeded with caution down the narrow lane.

To be continued…

Happy punctuating!



The Conjunction “But”

Remember that but needs an independent subject and verb after it in order to have a comma in front of it.

…didn’t really see him, but she tried to get him on the phone.
…didn’t really see him but tried to get him on the phone.

…saw the car coming toward me, but I really thought he would stop.
…saw the car coming toward me but really thought he would stop.

…saw Marianne, not her sister…
…saw Marianne but not her sister…

…went in on Mondays, never Tuesdays…
…went in on Mondays but never Tuesdays…

Happy punctuating!