20-Hour Punctuation Class Begins Sunday

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

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

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, …

What to Do When Punctuation Is Said

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

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

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

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 …

One More Time: “Affect” and “Effect”

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

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?

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

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 …

Cross-Examination Versus Direct Examination

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

Why the difference? Why a hyphen in one and not the other? “Cross-examination” comes from the verb “to cross-examine,” which has a hyphen because “cross” is a prefix. Since noun forms are often derived from the verb form, “cross-examination” has a hyphen. Since there is no such thing as “to direct examine,” there is no verb form to lead the …

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 …

“My Question Is…”

Margie Wakeman Wells The Comma, The Question Mark Leave a Comment

This construction always causes consternation and no end of disagreement. This is my understanding of the way English grammar works. It is never correct to use a single separating comma between the verb and the predicate nominative. Surely no one wants a comma in the following examples. …My name is Margie. …Her response is that she was not home. …My …