Commas and the Year and the Adjective

Are there commas around the year when, with the date, it is a direct adjective? …the May 15, 2012, letter… …the August 9, 1939, birth date… The year following the date is always surrounded with a pair of commas.The reason there is confusion here is the rule that says you don’t put a comma between the adjective and the noun …

The Adverb Being Used as a Conjunction

This one is from an answer on Facebook to the question of what punctuation these sentences need: …He worked late on Friday; so he couldn’t attend the party. …She approached the intersection cautiously; then she came to a complete stop. “So” and “then” are, by nature, adverbs.…was so excited……to then see what was happening…When these adverbs are pulled out to …

The Word “Or”

The word or works just like the word and. In a series when the conjunction, the word or, appears between each member of the series, use no commas. …tan or blue or silver… …25 or 28 or 31… In a series when the conjunction, the word or, is at the end of the series and there is no other conjunction, …

Long Time Away!

I have been very delinquent about my blog — no excuses! So I am back and will make every effort to be more diligent. I am teaching two online seminars this weekend. Email me for information. I am doing a CSR academic review here in Los Angeles on July 26 and August 2 and on in Northern CA on September …

The Answer “No”

When an attorney has asked a compound question …Do you remember whether Ray was there?… and the response he gets is “No,” there is another question to be asked. …”No,” you don’t remember? Or, “No,” Ray wasn’t there? That is my recommendation for punctuating the second question. Happy punctuating! Margie

Watching the Hockey Game…

I am sitting here working on a seminar for next week and watching the hockey game. Aha! A grammar problem: …These teams are so evenly matched. There have been 100 faceoffs; both teams have won 50… What is the problem? Where is the grammar mistake? Each is used when the teams/people/things are being looked at individually; both is used when …

A Little Grammar This Morning…

Remember that the word but has to connect two grammatically equal elements. That means that this statement cannot possibly be correct: …I can’t help but think he is going with us… This is just plain bad grammar. You need the gerund form, the –ing form. …I can’t help thinking he is going with us… …I can’t help believing it will …

Commas with Adverbs

An interesting question was asked over on FB this mornng. I am stealing a bit from Jim Barker’s forum. …”Are you dating someone?” asked Scott casually. …”Ashley was absolutely not involved,” stated Rene firmly. …”I don’t see what you are referring to,” said Scott, puzzled. Note that “casually” and “firmly” do not need a comma whereas “puzzled” does. One of …

The Ordinal on Dates

It is not my intention here to deal in any way with “editing” the transcript or changing/not changing anything. In formal English, it in incorrect to add the ordinal to the date that immediately follows the month:…on January 5… (not said as “fifth” nor written as “5th”)…until May 2… (not said as “second” nor written as “2nd”)…for June 1… (not …