“Self” Words

Margie Wakeman Wells Good Grammar, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I have had a request to explain pronouns that end in self/selves. This is a category of words called “compound personal pronouns.” They are …myself, ourselves …yourself, yourselves …himself, herself, itself, themselves First, let’s say that there are several mistakes made in the way these words are said. Plural mistakes: …ourselves, not ourself …themselves, not themself  or theirself Form mistakes: …

“That Is…” and Others

Margie Wakeman Wells The Colon, The Comma, The Dash, The Semicolon Leave a Comment

This is an abbreviated version of what is in my book on these eight parentheticals. PARENTHETICAL TO INTRODUCE AN APPOSITIVE Sometimes, when a person wants to explain, reiterate, rename, or restate something — that is, he wants to use an appositive — he uses a parenthetical before the appositive. These are the expressions most commonly used as parentheticals before an …

Oops. Need to Make a Correction

Margie Wakeman Wells Clauses, MWW Blog Leave a Comment

I have a sentence in the last post that is missing a comma. The commas are surrounding the dependent clause. …Do you remember [that, (when I saw you at Christmas), you promised to help me with that]? It just goes to show that we can miss something no matter how many times we proofread! Happy punctuating! Margie

The Adverb Clause

Margie Wakeman Wells Clauses, MWW Blog Leave a Comment

In my opinion, understanding dependent clauses and the way they work inside a sentence and how they are punctuated is at the very heart of understanding the language. When clauses are punctuated correctly, it helps the reader decipher what is going on in a sentence and produces a sentence that flows and is easy to read. With that said, I …

Compound Question

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

When someone asks two questions and uses “or” in between, there are two options: Put a comma/semicolon before the “or” that separates the two sentences and a question mark at the end; or make it into two questions. When the questions are lengthy or there is a lot of other punctuation, it is probably best to break them into two …

A Little-Known Dash Rule

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, The Dash Leave a Comment

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 …

The Idea of “Essential”

Margie Wakeman Wells Essential versus Nonessential, The Comma Leave a Comment

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, …

The Word “Then”

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

When “then” means “at that time,” it does not take a comma as it is an adverb. …He was then on his way to becoming successful. …I saw them and then began to wonder what would happen. If “then” is at the beginning of a sentence, it starts a new sentence and needs a semicolon or a period in front …