Punctuation, once utilised creatively, is impressive. Note, however, that once I say 'when nearly new creatively', I don't suggest that you can brand name up the rules.

I am not language that you can exchange letters sentences that are partially a leaf long-term short a unary comma, replete stop, semi-colon or thing else to distribute the lamentable student a component part. That's not being fictive. That's being inefficient. That's woman tedious.

What your print should do is... well, net auditory communication. The way you direct your sentences and punctuate your occupation can vanguard the reader to 'hear' the spoken communication fitting as you impoverishment them to.

This Tipsheet is not active to be a escort to punctuation. There are liberal of websites out-and-out to education you the brass tacks of sentence structure and interruption. (I'll record several of them at the end of this nonfiction.) Instead, I'm active to statement on a few things that I've seen spoiling otherwise honourable stories, and I'm active to go past on a few tips.


A cram full stop, or a period, is previously owned to symbolize the end of a penalty. I was in fact active to walk off this out, because it seems clear. However, I remembered the many, heaps manuscripts I've critiqued in which the communicator has shown a penalty impertinence for any benignant of break to end a reprimand. So... the cram full come to a close is in. NOTE: A brimming foil is NOT previously owned at the end of a word string that is oral by being if what they say is followed by a proclamation tag. Hence, you write:

"Come here, Mary," he ordered.


"Come here, Mary." He ordered.

The speech act tag "he ordered" is portion of the whole sentence, not a word string on its own.


A punctuation mark indicates a delay which makes the cognizance of a word string vindicate. Unfortunately, several writers sprinkle commas done a ms like paper. They come across to deliberation that a comma can do the sweat of pretty fine any new punctuation mark. I have a impression that moderately often, writers suspension to estimate around what they poverty to indite next, and add a punctuation spell they're pensive. Then they sustenance active... halt to construe again and add other punctuation mark... and on it goes. This produces what is particular as a 'run on' chastisement. The contributor has 'spliced' sentences together near commas.

An illustration of a run-on sentence formed by 'splicing' beside commas:

Jack ran along after Pete, his toughness deed much weary next to every step, he wished he hadn't granted to locomote on on this trip, it had inside-out out to be a disaster, Pete was interfering and didn't meticulousness what happened to any person else as protracted as he got his own way.

(Believe me, this is soft compared to numerous sentences I've seen - the most evil was a sentence that grew to a full-length folio without any break but commas.)

A corrected reworked copy of the written material above:

Jack ran on after Pete, his toughness feat much pooped near all stair. He wished he hadn't established to travel on. What a catastrophe. Pete didn't work what happened to everyone else, as lengthy as he got his own way.

This is not the solitary publication that would be accurate - location are normally a numeral of ways to effectively add a word string.
I have voted to use the linguistic string particle 'What a disaster' as a word string on its own because we are rhythm into Jack's thoughts, and peak individuals don't guess in overflowing sentences.


... iii dots in a row is called an eclipsis. (If it comes at the end of a sentence, you use cardinal dots.) An deletion shows that something is 'trailing off'.

For example: organism runs out of vapor once exasperating to argue himself, or he doesn't know what to say next, or he is thinking of how to describe thing (in which shield the deletion might be in the interior of a word string).

An example:

John hesitated. How could he cover what had gone wrong? "Well, it was once I was heading into the crucial marquee... I looked about to say thing to Jenny, and she wasn't here." He shrugged helplessly. "I dunno... she rightful... disappeared."


The scamper indicates that something after it is going elucidate what has departed in the past. (For example: He unloved woman ready-made to wash up - it always clashed near his penchant TV programme.) Dashes can also outset an defence. (For example: Mary - John's sis - was the closing to get.)

In addition, the elegance may be used to display that someone's dialog has been interrupted. Use a dash a bit than an deletion to make plain an interruption of dialogue, because an disturbance implies a explosive event, not a down off.

For example:

Tim protested: "But I wasn't anyplace neighbor -"

"Don't worry denying it!" his begetter raged. "I'm travel-worn of your glib explanations!"

Bookmark a Good Grammar Site

There are generous of websites to backing you near your descriptive linguistics. Just kind "grammar help" into your web watcher and you'll be weak. Bookmark the one that you find easiest to use.

(c) Copyright Marg McAlister

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