Punctuation Precision

Good morning. Just a reminder that Punctuation Precision begins this Saturday. This is your chance to “pull it all together.” In the 20 hours we will cover all the marks of punctuation and show how each fits into the big picture. There will be time to cover those crazy things that seem unique to reporting transcripts. If you need CEUs …

What about…? How about…?

“What about…?” and “How about…?” are idiomatic expressions that are meant to ask a question. It is true that they are not grammatically complete sentences in that they do not have a verb. However, idioms are unique unto themselves, and these two indicate questions and must stand alone with a question mark. If there is a question after this expression, …

“My Question Is…”

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 …

A Period or a Question Mark?

When the witness repeats the question or part of the question and then answers it, use a question mark after the question and let the rest of the answer stand on its own. …Q   Was it after 10:00 that he called that night? …A    Was it after 10:00? Yes. …Q   What was the attire for the meeting? …

“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 …

The Dash You Hate

…The key that was hidden on the premises — is it the one you used to get in that night? “The key that was hidden on the premises” is the start of a sentence that never gets finished. Then the person comes back and uses a complete sentence with a reference to “key” with the word “it.” There is nothing …

When “What” Is at the End

…You were a what? A supervisor? …It was a what? A Toyota? My contention is that these questions are just turned around from what they should be. Instead of “What were you?” and “What was it?” the order is reversed. It is just bad grammar (to which we apply good punctuation). Whenever the question comes up, there is a tendency …