The Prefix “Co-“

The rule is to add the prefix to the front of the word and make a solid word. The prefix “co-” has generally been an exception to this rule and has been hyphenated. I would say that it is “in transition.” That is, it is generally moving toward being made a solid word in many instances.

The problem, as I see it, is that many of the combinations are hard to read.

…He is a codefendant.
…He is a cosponsor.

Fairly ugly!

For the sake of readability, I would continue to hyphenate those that are hard to read.

Happy punctuating!


The Prefix “Re-“

We add a prefix to a word to make a solid word unless there is already a word with that spelling and a different meaning. This occurs most often with the prefix “re-.”

…She promises to work to reform her bad behavior.
…After the merger that occurred, we had to re-form the company.

…I have decided to resign from the board.
…We returned to the bank to re-sign the papers.

A couple of interesting examples along these same lines:

…The books on the shelf seem to just multiply over the months.
…It was a multi-ply board.

…The people unionized in an effort to improve working conditions.
…It was an un-ionized compound.

Happy punctuating!


The Ordinal Number

All dates are in figures.

The rule in English is that the ordinal is NOT added to the date after the month.

…It occurred on June 2 late in the afternoon.
…The date is May 4, 2015.
…We visited him on July 1 of last year.


…on the 2nd of June…
…May the 4th…

Whether you transcribe it or not when said is about how “verbatim” you want to be.

Happy punctuating!


Singular Possessives…Again

There seem to be so many variations in the way everyone wants to do the singular possessive: apostrophe alone sometimes, apostrophe s sometimes. Does the word end in s? How is it pronounced?

The rule is so simple: Add apostrophe s to the singular form of the word for the singular possessive — no struggles, no mess, no consternation, no having to decide.

…Mr. Well’s car is in the shop.
…I believe Mr. Rogers’s address is incorrect on this form.
…We saw Ms. Burns’s report on this matter.

Happy punctuating!


Searchable Documents and Times

We are in the era of “searchable” documents. An attorney looking for the time of day is not likely to put in “ten” or “four” in his search. The English rules of the 1990s for times don’t work anymore. It is correct that English says to put the number into words with the word “o’clock.” We have moved beyond that rule.

…He arrived at ten o’clock. (…the way it was done in the last century…)

The rule that “:00” means “o’clock” is just not applicable to the verbatim record and probably isn’t a formal rule anyway.
The conclusion: Times on the hour should be expressed with “:00.” If you are writing “verbatim,” then transcribe the word “o’clock” when it is said.

…He said they would be here at 4:00.
…I know it was getting close to 3:00 A.M.

…She arrived at 11:00 o’clock. (…when the word “o’clock” is said…)
Happy punctuating!

A Prepositional Phrase Beginning with “Of”…

A prepositional phrase beginning with “of” that represents where a person works or where he is from and that follows a proper noun takes commas around it. Other prepositional phrases do not take these commas.

…John Jones, of Smith and Jones…
…John Jones, of Buffalo…
…Mary Smith, of USC, is speaking at the symposium.
…Mary Smith, of Seattle, Washington, is visiting next week.

Happy punctuating!


“-ly” Words and Hyphens

Most of us know the rule “Do not hyphenate an ‘-ly’ word.” This rule perhaps need a little more definition.

Do not hyphenate an adverb that ends in “-ly” to the word after it.

…recently built homes…
…highly regarded leaders…

This does not apply when the “-ly” word is not an adverb. There are many “-ly” words that are adjectives.

…twice-weekly appointments…
…family-friendly location…

Happy punctuating!