20-Hour Punctuation Class Begins Sunday

Good morning.

Just a reminder that I am beginning a 20-hour punctuation class this coming Sunday. The ten two-hour class sessions will meet on Saturdays and/or Sundays and continue into June.

This is your chance to pull all of those rules together and better understand how everything goes together. There will be a question-and-answer time in each session to discuss those burning transcript questions.

The class has been prequalified by NCRA for CEUs.

Go to margieholdsclass.com to register.

Happy punctuating!


Sentences Joined by “And”

If there are several sentences that have a coordinate conjunction between them — usually this is the word “and” — it is correct to put a comma before the coordinate conjunction, the “and.” There seems to be some discussion that, when there is a string of these sentences, there is no need for the commas. I know of no such rule.

This is often called a “narrative,” which features several sentences strung together with “and.”

After two or three sentences like this, it is best to use a period and start the next sentence with “and.” And after six or eight lines, there should be a paragraph, which, yes, begins with “and.”

What to Do When Punctuation Is Said

When someone says the word for the punctuation mark, the decision about whether to put the word into the transcript or just the punctuation mark itself is really an editorial decision on the part of the reporter.

A person says: “It is the, cap, First, cap, Amendment discussion that is important.”
A person is reading from a document and says: “On the 15th of the month,” comma, “the surgery was performed.” [This sentence could be punctuated with a pair of dashes to set off the word “comma.”]

Whether to put in the word that was said or just the punctuation it stands for is an editorial decision on the part of the reporter. Maybe the question is “How verbatim do you think you need to be?”

There is justification in English for doing it either way.

Happy punctuating!



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 margieholdsclass.com 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!


Need Last-Minute CEUs?

For the past several years, I have had webinars available on my website for you to listen to, take a quiz, and receive CEUs. Those are no longer available because of file incompatibility. Some of you were apparently counting on those for last-minute CEUs.

On Saturday, December 10, I am giving four one-hour online webinars back to back. This is the schedule:

8:30 to 9:30 Pacific time — Comma Basics
9:45 to 10:45 Pacific time — Conjunctions and How They Work
11:15 to 12:15 Pacific time — The Semicolon in Brief
12:30 to 1:30 Pacfic time — The Dash Shows More Than an Interruption

To receive credit, you must be in attendance. Certificates of completion will be issued, which may be used to submit to your organization for credit.

The cost is $29 for each session individually and $99 for all four purchased together.

For details and registration, go to margieholdsclass.com.

Happy punctuating!



“All Things English”

“All Things English” — it’s here. Not a grammar book, not a punctuation book. Just a book that fills 20 minutes of your day with fun English stuff: one vocab word, one spelling word, one idiom, one word pair, and one fun fact. It is meant to improve your overall English skill. It’s a great gift. Do you have someone studying for the SAT or the GRE? Or is there someone who just wants/needs to improve English skills? This book is not court reporting specific. Buy it before the end of the year at the special introductory price of $20 at MargieHoldsCourt.com.