On My Soapbox

A discussion of this construction comes up about once a month. Is there or is there not a comma after “that” in the following sentence. …I knew that, if I turned right, I’d get there sooner. The sentence is “I knew that I’d get there sooner.” “I knew” is the subject and verb of the sentence. “That I’d get there …

The Word “Number”

When the word “number” is said and is followed by a figure, it is abbreviated except when it begins a sentence since it would look like hte word “no.” …It refers to Section No. 123. …I am on page No. 15. …Number 84 is not included here. The plural of the abbreviation is “Nos.” …I have read Nos. 15 and …

Bumping Up the Comma to a Semicolon

The rule about “bumping up” the comma to a semicolon in a compound sentence with a coordinate conjunction has to do with obscuring the division in the sentence. Does the other punctuation “hide” the break between the two sentences? Is there other punctuation that makes it difficult to see where the first sentence ends and the second one starts? One …

An independent clause and a sentence are the same thing. And the first rule of all punctuation is that a comma goes before a coordinate conjunction that connects independent clauses. The fact that there are words in an independent clause that refer back to the first clause makes no difference. There is, however, a very sophisticated rule that not a …

“Sometime/Some Time”

Some extra hints about the differences between one word and two: “Sometime” as an adjective means “occasional” or “here today/gone tomorrow.” …He is a sometime friend. “Some time” is an adjective and noun combination. “Time” is the noun. There are times when it has to be two words because the grammar calls for a noun. Here the word “time” is …

Clarifying Terminology

When we say, “Do not put a comma after ‘so,’” we are talking about a single separating comma. A pair of commas can go anywhere. There is never a single comma after “so.” We have this confusion often with this rule in several other contexts also. …So when did you join the company? …So, Mr. Anders, when did you join …

A Note About Lillian Morson

I keep seeing comments that Lillian Morson and I are contradictory. This just isn’t so. I would say that we agree on about 90 percent of the rules. There are a few “sticking” points between us, but they are truly few. Those are the ones that so often get brought up. We know each other and have, in years gone …

CCRA Education Liaison

I am happy to announce that CCRA and I are going to be “partners.” I am to be the education liaison, working to be sure schools are in the loop about what is going on in the field, helping students, and just generally being a cheerleader for the court reporters and court reporting students in California. I am looking forward …

Happy New Year

Dear blog people, If you remember a very successful Australian tennis player from the 1970s, Evonne Goolagong, you might remember that she had “walkabouts” — times when she just wasn’t with it, wasn’t concentrating, and played just terribly. (Walkabout historically refers to a rite of passage during which Indigenous male Australians would undergo a journey during adolescence, typically ages 10 to …