Trailing Off with the Word “So”

There is a difference of opinion about the function of the word “so.” Some think it is a coordinate conjunction like the word “and,” in which case it would take nothing in front of it as it has no subject and verb after it.   Others think it is an adverb that has been turned into a conjunction and takes …

“That Is…” and Others

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 …

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 …

The Sentence Is Over…

We see this same pattern often: We have finished a sentence; then we throw in something that renames the subject of that sentence. …We decided to spend the weekend away — my husband and I….The company had been in the red — Mitchell Engineering. …That is what I wanted to tell you — that he was here today. The grammar …

Capping After the Dash

Do not cap a word after a dash unless it always has to be capped. …He was on his way to — to visit her in the hospital. …She helped him to — helped her to the couch after she fell. When there is a complete chance of topic after the dash, paragraph the next sentence. Of course, the paragraphed …

Commas Around Them, Commas Inside Them

When elements that have commas around them also have commas within them, the commas around them change to dashes. …If it has misspellings — whether they be medications, medical terms, or names — you’ll end up having to change them yourself. …The men who helped us — Ron, Ross, Ralph, and Manny — volunteered on their own. …All of the …

The Dash —

Rather than thinking of the dash as being used for an “interruption,” it will serve you better to frame that rule as “A dash is used for a sentence that got started and did not get finished — broken sentence structure.” This thinking will allow you to use a dash in some places that may feel uncomfortable but where it …

A Not-Very-Well-Known Dash Rule

Most reporters use the dash simply for that ever-present interruption. There are, however, grammar rules associated with the dash. Here’s one: When an indefinite pronoun follows ONE word and renames it, there is most often a comma. When an indefinite pronoun follows MORE THAN ONE word and renames each word, there should be a dash. …He took medications, some of …

The Dash

Just the basic rules for the dash. It is the third one that many people don’t always remember. There are three basic reasons to use a dash:1. broken sentence structure (This is where the interruption fits.)2. full sentence dropped into another full sentence…I want to read to you from — can you hear me? — your deposition on May 5.…I …