Submitted by isaac  •  May 1, 2006

Using [sic]

I am a student working on a thesis in anthropology and I am quoting one of my informants. In his quote, he says “United States Geological Service.” I know that it’s “United States Geological SURVEY,” not “service.” Should I put [sic] after the word “service” in the quote? Is it obnoxious to do that? Is it necessary?

Submitted by patrick  •  April 19, 2006

Books of the Bible - underlined?

How ought one format citations from specific books of the Bible. For example: According to the Book of James, “Faith without works is dead.” Should “Book of James” be underline/italicized?

Submitted by trishtillman  •  April 18, 2006

“Writers Forum” or “Writers’ Forum”

My students choose a favorite piece of their own writing to read aloud to thier parents at an event we call “Writers Forum.” Should it be “Writers Forum” or “Writers’Forum”?

Submitted by drewfleischer  •  March 23, 2006

Titles in quotes

I’m writing for a trivia book that will use quote marks to signify a title. Would a correct possessive be:

How tall is “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird? or How tall is “Sesame Street”’s Big Bird?

Submitted by andys  •  March 13, 2006

Magazine title plus a possessive = italics?

In the phrase “...ranked in the top five in PC Magazine’s top-20 list...” I know that “PC Magazine” should be italicized. But should the italic formatting carry over to the apostrophe-s or not?

Submitted by chris  •  February 18, 2006

Capitalization of hyphenated words

Imagine the title of an essay:

A Study of Molecular-Based Reactions A Study of Molecular-based Reactions

(I’m not a scientist so ignore whether or not the title makes sense!)

Which is correct, or more widely accepted? Personally I think the first one looks best.

Submitted by teresajimenez  •  February 14, 2006

Colon and semicolon in a single sentence

Can I use a colon and a semicolon in the same sentence? Here’s my example, “There were no known friends or family members, so besides his physical symptoms he was admitted with only one certainty: his longstanding IV drug use; he had numerous track marks and was noticeably malnourished.” Is there a better way to structure this?

Submitted by deborah  •  November 30, 2005

Punctuation used in theater programs

What is the term for the punctuation that is seen in theater programs, such as:

The Cast Maria...........................................Julie Andrews Capt. Von Trapp.................Christopher Plummer

I’m asking specifically about the multiple periods--is there a punctuation term for them as a group like “ellipsis” is for three periods?

Thank you! Deborah :)

Submitted by bernardthebunny  •  October 27, 2005


Can you use an ellipse thingu to sort of draw something out? Like if you were to say, “I think there was a turkey somewhere, but I’m not sure...” It’s bugged me, since there’s nothing about that in Wikipedia or on Websters online. ._.

Submitted by margaret  •  October 4, 2005

Where does the period go?

I have a question on the following excerpt:

And that means taking some time to effectively communicate the “vision” throughout the organization and to train all members to “view for improvement through cooperative effort” rather than “hunker down and protect turf.”

Does the last period of the sentence belong inside or outside of the quotation mark? The sentence “hunker down and protect turf” isn’t complete, so...what do you think? This is on the website of the company I work for.

Submitted by steven  •  September 20, 2005

Use of multiple periods

What I’m asking isn’t really multiple periods but the use of “...” Is this grammatically correct for replacing commas? I’m currently writing a journal entry for a school assignment and the use of “...” to replace commas might not be grammatically correct.

For those who might not understand what I’m asking this is an example sentence. “I watched the whole thing happen... and yet... I did nothing.”

Would the use of “...” here be correct?

Submitted by sarah  •  July 15, 2005


I’ve been editing my sister’s med school app, and she includes a series sentences as follows.

I know she resorted to this style of structuring the sentence in the interest of space (there are character limits for the app), but this makes me feel awkward with its semicolon usage, which I usually take as a sign that there may be a grammatical error....any thoughts?

A young woman faced the birth of her first baby; I gave support and comfort. She was filled with questions; I provided education. She struggled physically and emotionally; I gave reassurance and encouragement. During this extraordinary time of life, I built with her a relationship based on trust.

Submitted by greggnagel  •  June 23, 2005

Am I Missing Something?

How would one punctuate the following sentence?

We walk with you every step of the way from initial conceptual design, through case illustration, document drafting, and implementation.

(I feel like there should be something between ‘every step of the way’ and ‘from initial conceptual design...”)

Submitted by manuelahuso  •  June 21, 2005

Punctuation of noun that might also be part of a title

I have a question about punctuation in a manuscript. We are writing a manuscript about research that was carried out in the Mojave National Preserve.

Here’s what we write “Our investigation occurred between 2001 and 2003 in Mojave National Preserve. The preserve was established in 1994…” The question is whether the preserve, in the second sentence should be capitalized.

Thanks for your help!

Submitted by petia  •  April 21, 2005


Is it acceptable in your opinion to use “s/he” in official documents instead of “she/he” or “she or he”?

Submitted by leah  •  April 13, 2005

Left or right single quote?

When you replace the first two numbers of a year with an apostrophe (or single quote), do you use a left or right curly quote? Would it be ‘05 or ’05? I have found it both ways online, even both ways in the same paragraph.

Submitted by greggnagel  •  April 12, 2005

Apostrophe Catastrophe

(Bob Rusk and Tina Rusk are a married couple and have the same advisor)

Which is correct:

Bob and Tina Rusk’s advisor suggests... or Bob and Tina Rusks’ advisor suggests...

Is there someplace I can find the rule that dictates this? (I need to present proof to settle an argument)

Thank You, Gregg Nagel

Submitted by dawnmiller  •  April 4, 2005

possession with an entity which uses parenthesis

I would like to know if you could tell me where the apostrophe “s” would go in the following statement. Assuming that the primary name is the name of the facility and the information contained within the parenthesis is the corporation in which the entity falls under.

Bobby Thompson (Rutter)’s officials have agreed to waive a formal exit conference.

Thank you!

Submitted by susanallred  •  April 1, 2005

Plural of name ending in Y

If I want to say the Murphys meaning Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, is it “Murphies” or Murphy’s. I’m not using it possessively, just referring to both of them such as “The Murphy’s are a nice couple.

Submitted by nicolejamison  •  January 20, 2005

Possessive with acromyms ending in S

How do you properly punctuate an acromyn such as ACS when you want to show it ACS’s or ACS’?

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