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 …

A Little-Known Dash Rule

Besides using the dash for interruptions (broken sentence structure), there are some grammar rules that govern the use of the dash. When a pronoun refers back to one noun, use a comma in front of the pronoun; when a pronoun refers back to several nouns, use a dash in front of the pronoun. …We received several letters, each of which …

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 …

The Idea of “Essential”

As I have stated on other occasions, there is widespread confusion or perhaps lack of understanding of what the terms “essential” and “nonessential” mean in punctuation. I would say again: Putting a pair of commas around an element does not always mean that you can take it out of the sentence and have the sentence make sense. In other words, …

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 …

Parentheses

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …