The Hyphen for an Incomplete Number

Formal English rules say that an incomplete number should be written out in words.

…I think you said you made four or five hundred dollars.

Combined with the consistency rule, this presents some issues in a reporting transcript. When there are other numbers in the same sentence or area of the transcript, it is simply not practical to write
everything out in words.

An alternative is to use figures with a hyphen after them for the incomplete number.

…I think you said you made 4- or $500.
…We paid $675,000 for the house and sold it two years later for 8-.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

The Word “Now”

When the word now means “at this time” or “currently,” it is an adverb and takes no punctuation. When it has no meaning and is just a throwaway, a “filler-type” word, it
takes commas around it.

…I now want to discuss the fight that took place.
…Have you now seen the doctor about this problem?

…Did you say, now, that he was violent that night?
…Well, now, did you see her there?

At the beginning of a sentence, there is no way to tell after the fact. You have to hear it at
the time and get the comma (or not) as it is being said; in other words, it is “You had to be there” punctuation.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

The Plural and the Apostrophe of a Proper Name

When a proper name has the word “the” in front of it, it has to be plural. My husband
and I are NOT “the Wells.” We are “the Wellses.” If you are talking about us, it is just
plural; if you are talking about something we own, it is plural possessive.

…I went with the Hodgeses to the party.
…I went to the Hodgeses’ party.

…The Ramirezes are living in San Francisco now.
…I visited the Ramirezes’ new house.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

The Word “What”

The word “what” is an interrogative — asks a question — pronoun. In the normal word order, it is, of course, “What was it?” When the sentence is turned around, it is just “bad grammar,” and it still takes an interrog.

…What was it? A fracture?
…It was what? A fracture?

…What was it? A Toyota?
…It was a what? A Toyota?

…What are you referring to?
…You are referring to what?

Happy punctuating!

Margie

The “Hard C” Sound

When a word ends in the “hard c” sound — mimic, static, picnic — you want to maintain
that sound in all forms of the word. Since “ci” and “ce” sound like an “s,” you need to alter
the spelling to keep the “hard c” sound.

When adding an ending that begins with an “i” or an “e” to a word that ends in “ic,” add
a “k” before the ending.

…picnicked, picnicking
…mimicked, mimicking
…staticky

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“Do you know?” and Others

When a question like “Do you know?” or “Do you recall?” is tacked on at the end of
another question, use an interrog for both questions.

…How close were you to the edge of the road? Do you know?
…What time was it that he arrived? Do you remember?
…Where was he stationed? Do you recall?

Happy punctuating!

Margie