Do Not Use a Separating Comma…

Do not use a separating comma after the coordinate conjunctions — and, but, or, nor — nor after the one-syllable conjunctive adverbs — thus, hence, still, then, so, yet. However, don’t forget that a pair of commas can go anywhere.

…And he was not involved in the issue with the report.
…And, Ms. Andrews, he was not involved in the issue with the report.

…But I haven’t seen him in months.
…But, Counsel, I haven’t seen him in months.

…So when did you first realize there was a problem?
…So, in other words, when did you first realize there was a problem?

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“Where are you going? is my question.”

When there are two parts to a sentence, one a statement and one a question, it is the part at the end that determines the terminal punctuation.

…My question is where are you going?
…Where are you going? is my question.

In the second example, since the sentence ends in a period, there has to be a question mark mid-sentence at the end of the question.

This is another way to put it: In the second sentence the whole question is actually the subject of the sentence. The word “question” is the predicate nominative. The insertion of the question mark mid-sentence is because that is where the question is being asked. The end of the statement is a question and needs a period.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

 

The Subjunctive

Verbs in English (and many other languages) have a characteristic called “mood.” When you make a statement or ask a question, the mood of the verb is indicative. When you directly tell someone to do something, the mood of the verb is imperative.

With a bunch of grammar “stipulations,” when you are trying to persuade someone to do something, the verb in the dependent clause is subjunctive.

…He GOES with her. (indicative)
…GO with her. (imperative)
…I insisted that he GO with her. (subjunctive)

And the subjunctive drops the “s” from the verb for third person singular.

…It is imperative that he LEAVE immediately.
…He demands that she ARRIVE on time.

Happy punctuating!

Margie