A Personal Story…

I walked into a restaurant to meet my son for breakfast yesterday morning, wearing my “Bad grammar should not happen to good people” T-shirt.

The guy at the next table said, “Good morning. How are you?”

I responded, “Well. Thank you.”

He said, “I was just checking your grammar and making sure you did not respond with ‘Good’ because of your T-shirt.”

Made my day.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

A Rather Obscure Dash Rule

When an indefinite pronoun renames one noun, use a comma.

…He saw several books, none of which interested him.
…We looked at three models, each of which had some interesting features.
…I talked to the kids involved, all of which told the same story.

When an indefinite pronoun renames several nouns, use a dash.

…He saw books, pamphlets, and magazines — none of which interested him.
…We looked at a Ford, a Toyota, and a Honda — each of which had some interesting features.
…I talked to John, Heather, and Alicia — all of which told the same story.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

More on Quotes

…Did he say things like “I’m not going to keep it ” or “I want to sell it ” or “I want to lease it out”? Or what did he tell you?

No comma after “like” because it is a preposition and the sentences are the objects of the preposition.

No commas after the sentences as they are objects of the preposition and not independent clauses as such.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Hyphenating Adjectives

Remember that the dictionary does not make a distinction for adjectives in regard to hyphenating. The dictionary gives the “direct adjective,” right in front of the noun, form only. So if you look up “long-range,” it is shown as hyphenated. This does not take into account that the RULE says that a predicate adjective is not hyphenated.
…I have long-range plans.
…My plans are long range.

…I have a full-time job.

…My job is full time.
Happy punctuating!

Margie

Clauses, Part 2

When dependent clauses are joined by a coordinate conjunction, there is no comma because there is not an independent subject and verb after the conjunction.

…I was more concerned when I got there and when I saw his condition.

Sometimes the second “when” is omitted — and it is perfectly correct to do so.

…I was more concerned when I got there and I saw him.

Now it appears — falsely — that there is an independent clause after “and.” Should there be a comma? NO.

The word “and” cannot link an independent clause to a dependent clause. “I saw him” is dependent with the “when” understood.

BEWARE of the dependent clause masquerading as an independent clause and trying to fool you!

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Clauses, Part 1

When two INDEPENDENT clauses are linked by a coordinate conjunction, there is a comma before the conjunction; when there is not an independent clause, independent subject and verb, after the coordinate conjunction, there is NOT a comma before the conjunction.

…I left the office early that day, and I went straight to the doctor.
…I left the office early that day and went straight to the doctor.

…Ms. Hess was elected to the position, and after she was in office for just a couple of months, she resigned.
…Ms. Hess was elected to the position and, after she was in office for just a couple of months, resigned.

[We will talk about that adverb clause another time.]

When two DEPENDENT clauses are linked by a coordinate conjunction, there is NOT a comma before the conjunction since there is not an independent subject and verb.

…I aided in the process because I felt an obligation to her and because she was drowning in the work.
…We spent a few extra days after the conference ended and after the assessments were completed.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“Like/As” I Said

The word “like” cannot start a dependent clause; that is, it cannot be part of a unit with a subject and verb. The word you want is “as” or “as if.”

…As I said previously, we were not part of the group.
…It felt as if it were much later.
…It looks as if it will rain.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

More on Quotes

…He said, “I have never seen him in my life.”
…She said, “You may not access those files.”

…He said something like “I have never seen him in my life.”
…She said something to the effect of “You may not access those files.”

When the quote follows words that are not lead-in words, there is no comma before the quote.

Happy punctuating!

Margie