How Verbatim Do You Want to Be?

Number form in some instances depends upon the answer to the question “How verbatim do you want to be?”

If the witness says “…a hundred fifteen…,” whether you put the number into words or figures depends upon what you are going to do with “a” hundred.

If the witness says “…three and three quarters…,” whether you put the number into words or figures depends upon what you are going to do with a “quarter.”

In these two instances, “a” and “quarter” are not really numbers. My recommendation is some sort of consistency of style or approach to this problem, or maybe it depends on the other numbers or lack of same in the sentence.

The decision is yours.

Happy punctuating!


More on the Word “So” — Even If We Don’t Even Want to Go There Again

Facebook had a couple of interesting questions/examples on “so.” SO I thought it would be good to take a look at them. This is my answer to the questions about the word “so” in the FB sentence below.

…If, after a question has been posed to you, you have any question relating to what is being inquired about, please tell me before you answer the question. So just make sure you understand what you’re answering before you answer it.
“So” is both a subordinate conjunction, which begins a dependent clause (which we are not discussing here), and a conjunctive adverb, which begins a brand-new sentence, that is, an independent clause. The sentence above that begins with “so” is an independent clause, not a dependent clause. It is a command form. Therefore, the word “so” has a period or a semicolon in front of it.
…The reporter’s only able to transcribe audible responses, so things that can be heard.
In the example above, “things” is an appositive to “responses.” The word “so” does not have a complete sentence after it even though it probably means “therefore.” There is a comma in front of it.
…He arrived at 5:00; so he missed the meeting.
…He arrived at 5:00, so missed the meeting.

…I am out of the office today; so I will call you tomorrow.
…I am out of the office today, so will call you tomorrow.

Happy punctuating!


The “Summary” Dash

There is a little-known dash rule that is called the “summary dash.” It is used when a sentence has concluded and a clause refers back to the subject of that sentence. The clause is really an appositive to the subject of the sentence.

(There are other instances of a summary dash that we will save for another day.)

…It was something I never expected to discover — that the company was doing shoddy work.
…That is what I remember — that he was always late to work.

Happy punctuating!


“Full-Time” and “Part-Time”

These two words are hyphenated in the dictionary as adjectives and adverbs. However, as we know, the adjective form in the dictionary is the direct adjective form, i.e., the form right in front of the noun. Predicate and appositive adjectives are not hyphenated.

So they are hyphenated as direct adjectives
…full-time job
…part-time position
and as adverbs
…He works full-time.
…We were with him only part-time.
but not as predicate adjectives.
…His job is full time.
…It is only part time.
Happy punctuating!

Interesting Rule from the “Chicago Manual of Style”

Another take on the word “so”: In 5.210 of CMOS, “Interjections and functional variations”: “… most parts of speech may be used as interjections. A word that is classified as some other part of speech but used with the force of an interjection is called an exclamatory noun, exclamatory adjective, and so forth.” And the word “so” is used as an example of one of these “exclamatory” words.

Specifically in regard to the word “so,” I think this interpretation opens a can of worms. If the word “so” can now be an interjection, it must take a comma after it. You must now decide each time “so” is used what the speaker is thinking and whether or not “so” is a conjunction that means “therefore” or it is an interjection, a throwaway-type word, and has no meaning. As a conjunction, “so” does not have a separating comma after it; as an interjection, it does.

Inserting the comma for the interjection does not shed light or clarity on the sentence and forces the person punctuating to intuit what the speaker is thinking or, at the very least, to look back at what is said before the word “so” in order to try to figure it out.

Interesting! We’ll talk more.

Happy punctuating!


Two Questions

Even when said as one thought with NO pause and NO change of the timbre of the voice, this construction takes two question marks.
…Were your car windows open? Do you remember?
…Was your radio on? Do you know?
Reversing the subject and verb in English is the indication that there is a question. These are questions — two questions. And if the answer is just “Yes” or “No,” refer back to the blog post of a few days ago for the follow-up that the attorney must then ask.
Happy punctuating!

Does “-ly” Always Mean an Adverb?

I had a question in my grammar class last night that I want to address.

It is true that very often a word that ends in -ly is an adverb. We actually add the -ly to the adjective form of many words to form the adverb.

…firm, firmly
…smooth, smoothly
…quick, quickly

So, yes, many -ly words are adverbs. However, there are well over a hundred words that end in -ly that are adjectives. So not every -ly word is an adverb.

…friendly crowd
…lovely day
…likely story

And, of course, there are many adverbs that do not end in -ly.

never at home
always talking…not happy

Just a little grammar for fun today.

Happy punctuating!


Watch Out for the Run-On

Remember that, even though there are little short sentences, they are still sentences if they have their own subject and verb and can stand alone. Punctuating them with a comma creates a run-on.

…That’s right. He was long overdue for the visit.
…Let’s see. I think it was May.
…He’s an adult. He needs to get a job.

…He works on Saturdays during the school year. He is not available.
…We mailed them out on a Monday. It was fine.
…She may have wanted more than that. I don’t know.

Would these be good places for a semicolon? No. The semicolon works only when the ideas are really closely related or the construction is parallel.

…He is at home; he is not at work.
…She likes to read; he likes to fish.

Happy punctuating!