Watch Out for the Run-On

Remember that, even though there are little short sentences, they are still sentences if they have their own subject and verb and can stand alone. Punctuating them with a comma creates a run-on. …That’s right. He was long overdue for the visit. …Let’s see. I think it was May. …He’s an adult. He needs to get a job. …He works …

You Cannot “Talk” in Run-Ons

Some people have been making this statement: “The attorney just keeps talking in run-ons.” He said, “We were together, AND she seemed to be distracted, BUT I didn’t say anything to her at the time. AND it was beginning to be irritating, BUT I didn’t want to cause a scene.” When people go on and on and decide to insert …

A Note on “Yes” and “No”

When “yes” or “no” is repeated, there are two options: periods or commas. If we want to get technical, if the words are repeated quickly with no pauses, use commas; if the words are said distinctly with pauses in between, use periods. I think this is an OWCATS situation. If you like, choose one option and use it all the …

A Different Meaning for the Period or Semicolon Before “Is That Correct?”

Deciding to use a period versus a semicolon before “Is that correct?” and expecting your reader to distinguish that they mean something different is an exercise in extreme subtlety. This distinction has been pushed around out there for a long time. …You testified that he arrived at 9:00; is that correct? — meaning is it correct that you testified to this?  …You testified that he …

“Where are you going? is my question.”

When there are two parts to a sentence, one a statement and one a question, it is the part at the end that determines the terminal punctuation. …My question is where are you going? …Where are you going? is my question. In the second example, since the sentence ends in a period, there has to be a question mark mid-sentence …

Two Spaces or One?

There is one space after a period and a colon when you are using a variable font; there are two spaces after a period and colon when you are using a monofont. In reporting, we generally use a monofont.The two spaces before the ZIP is an affectation and was never part of the formal language. The ZIP has one space …

A Period or an Interrog

When there are two parts to a sentence and one is a statement and the other is a question, it is the one at the end that determines the terminal punctuation. …What he wants to know is where were you going? …The question I am asking is how far were you willing to take this? …Where were you going? is …

Period After the Fragment Answer

Remember to put a period after a fragment answer. Do not attach it to the following part of the answer. Q  Where were you waiting at the time? A   At the bus station. We had been there several hours. Q  When did the appointment take place? A   On Monday. We all went with him. Happy punctuating! Margie

“Is That Fair?”

I was recently asked whether I would recommend a semicolon before “Is that fair?” just as it is before “Is that right?” The answer is that right, true, and correct in any of their various forms are in a category by themselves. The three —  right, true, and  correct, — are called “tag clauses.” A tag clause turns a statement …