Since parentheses indicate that the material inside the parens is less important than the information around it, we do not use parens to punctuation what is being said in a transcript.

When there is a “blurb” inside parentheses, there are standard English rules that cover what needs to be done.

If what is inside the parens is a complete grammatical sentence,

  • cap the first word of the sentence.
  • put punctuation inside the parens.

…Q  Where did it hit you?
…A  (Indicating.)

If what is inside the parens is a fragment and part of a larger thought,

  • do not cap the first word.
  • put punctuation outside the parens.

…Q  Where did it hit you?
…A  Right along here (indicating).

Happy punctuating!


Change of Date for Grammar Class

Because of a personal issue that has come up, I am pushing back the start date for the grammar class. We will begin on February 12 and go through April 8.

Here are the new dates:

February 12, 18, 25
March 4, 5, 12, 19
April 1, 2, 10

Go to for details and registration.

Hope to see you in class.



This Is Your Chance — a Grammar Class

Good morning.

I am fairly sure you have not had the chance to take a grammar class recently. As I have said so often, it is understanding how the language works that lays the foundation for everything else. Knowing the difference between a phrase and a clause, understanding modifiers, being able to find the subject and verb — this knowledge makes punctuating easier, makes producing a transcript easier!

So the magic date is January 14. We will start a 20-hour grammar course that will meet on Saturdays and/or Sundays through the beginning of March. And the CEUs have been prequalified through NCRA. If you cannot attend live, you can listen to the recorded sessions and submit a detailed summary.

We have made it easy to collect your CEUs but, more importantly, to gain knowledge and understanding of this wonderful language. The cost is $395 for reporters (just $20 per CEU) and $355 for proofers, scopists, students, and teachers — no airplanes, no bad pillows in a hotel; and you get to come to class in your pajamas with your very own snacks. What could be more fun and comfortable?

Go to margieholdsclass for details and to register.

At this time, I have no plans to repeat this class this year. So strike now! And did I mention that grammar is my favorite thing to teach?

Happy punctuating!


One More Time: “Affect” and “Effect”

Putting aside the word affect as it is used in the psychiatric world to mean the “an observed emotional response” — …the flat affect of the patient… — the  statement “Affect is a verb; effect is a noun” just doesn’t quite cover it.

Effect can be a verb. When it is, it means “bring about” or “make happen.” Substitute those words directly. If you have a verb and these words work, choose effect.

…Her death effected so much sadness in the community.
…Her death brought about so much sadness in the community.

…His new job has effected a whole new attitude from him.
…His new job has brought about a whole new attitude from him.

Happy punctuating!