Starting a Sentence with “And”

There is no problem starting a sentence with the word and. Though we would not necessarily choose to start a short sentence with and, it is not incorrect. When many sentences are strung together with and between them, you must call a halt and start a sentence with and. The rule of thumb is no more than three separate sentences before you …

Parallel Construction and the Semicolon

…I arrived on Saturday; he arrived on Sunday. …He resigned in 2010; she resigned in 2011. …The first train leaves at 5:00 A.M.; the last train leaves at 10:00 P.M. The Rule: When two sentences have NO conjunction between them and have parallel grammatical construction, use a semicolon between them. This question always arises: Could I use a period? My …

The Word “Therefor”

This word — no e on the end — means “for that thing” and is always used when referring to having exchanged money or goods or property for something else. It often comes toward the end of the sentence. …I paid him $3,000 therefor. …She received a payment of $15,000 therefor. Check out my word pairs book! Happy punctuating! Margie

The “d” on “Used To”

This question came up on FB. When the letter t and the letter d are inside a word, they sound the same: ladder/latter, shudder/shutter, conceited/conceded. When the d ends one word and t starts the next word, they elide into one sound: …talked to her… …listened to the recording… In the combination with “used to” and “supposed to,” this causes a …

Quotes for a Made-Up Word

When a word is made up but has all the characteristics of an English word — dramastically, considerated — spell it correctly and use a pair of quotes around it. There is not a need to use sic. The quotes alert your reader that it is not really a word but that it is what was said. …She was really …

The Word “What”

When someone tacks the word what onto the end of a question, it should stand alone as its own question. …Was it given to you as a gift? What? …Were you there alone? with someone? What? …Did the company have benefits? profit sharing? What? When someone turns a “what” question around, punctuate it just as you would the question in …

“Not Only/But Also”

These words are called “correlative conjunctions.” Like their counterpart coordinate conjunctions, they link grammatically equal parts. The word also can be moved to later in the construction, or it can be omitted entirely. …not only John but also Bill… …not only John but Bill also… …not only John but Bill… When these link two sentences, there is a comma before …

A Little-Known Rule with “Of”

When a prepositional phrase beginning with of that denotes a business or a location follows a proper name, use a pair of commas around it. …Harry Larson, of Otis Elevator, arrived earlier than we expected. …Marianne Sanderson, of Buffalo, was here for the meeting. Happy punctuating! Margie