A Note on “Yes” and “No”

When “yes” or “no” is repeated, there are two options: periods or commas. If we want to get technical, if the words are repeated quickly with no pauses, use commas; if the words are said distinctly with pauses in between, use periods. I think this is an OWCATS situation. If you like, choose one option and use it all the …

We Are the Only Ones Who…

…are listening to the WAY something is said. When “2-0-4” is said as the year, everyone but the reporter hears “2004.” Though we certainly want to be verbatim, this is a time that trying to use an apostrophe or a hyphen just makes no sense. Put “2004” and get on with life. ūüôā Happy punctuating! Margie

P.S. on the Word “Number”

When the word “number” and the number itself delineate an item in a list, it is best to write both of them out to avoid some confusing situations. …They were, number one, $243; number two, $867; and, number three, $674. …They were, No. 1, $243; No. 2, $867; and, No. 3, $674. The second one is just not easy to …

A Different Meaning for the Period or Semicolon Before “Is That Correct?”

Deciding¬†to use¬†a¬†period versus a semicolon before “Is that correct?” and expecting your reader to distinguish that they¬†mean something different is¬†an exercise in extreme subtlety. This distinction has been pushed around out there for a long time. …You testified that he arrived at 9:00; is that correct? — meaning is it correct that you testified to this?¬† …You testified that he …

“Too” and “Also”

The words too and also generally do not need commas with the exception of also at the beginning of the sentence.   Historically too and also had commas before them at the end of the sentence.¬† Since the words are just plain adverbs, there was never really a need to use those commas. They have been dropped — many years …

When the Date Is an Adjective…

Take a look at the two basic ways that commas are used: All commas are used to either separate two language elements and push them apart or to surround a language element. The latter implies that the element, if lifted out of the sentence, would take both commas with it and leave a grammatically complete sentence behind. …As the session …

Those Darn Hyphens

If a noun is listed as separate words, then it stays separate words — and is not hyphenated — as a direct (right in front of the noun) adjective. …He is in real estate. …He is a real estate broker. …He is in high school. …He is a high school senior. This gets a little crazy since it means that …