This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books.
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Latest Posts : Punctuation and Mechanics
I recently gave a class of six year olds a spelling test and saw that many of the children were spelling words with the correct letters but had used capital letters at the beginning, middle or end of a word. Is a word that has the correct letters but some of them are in capitals still considered to be correctly spelled?
“Do’s and Don’t's” is a popular phrase, but the punctuation of it seem to vary for “don’t's”. What should it be?
While waiting for the subway to arrive, I noticed this mysterious symbol between “PRINCE” and “ST.” This is not a mistake of any kind. All of the signs at the station had this little triangle, and whoever created these signs put a significant amount of effort in inserting it. (Just look at how it is tiled.) Obviously this was something important for the artist who created this mosaic sign. What could it mean? It could not be a dash. Firstly, a dash would be inappropriate for this context. Secondly, if it were meant as a dash, it would have been much easier to draw a straight line out of these square tiles (instead of a triangle).
(FYI: This is New York City.)
I constantly see apostrophes used in ways I believe are incorrect. I am wondering anyone can confirm for me, though. For example, I often see “Temperatures will reach the high 90′s today...”
Aren’t apostrophes only used to show possession or in contractions? For example, “This sweet ride isn’t (cont.) mine; it’s (cont) Jessica’s (poss).”
Also, how would I word something to the effect that everyone is coming to the house that my husband, Mike, and I own?
“Everyone is coming to Mike’s and my house.”?
Let us say I received a box of apples from Joe Jones, Ltd.
Would I write:
“Joe Jones, Ltd., sent a box of apples.” or
“Joes Jones, Ltd. sent a box of apples.”?
Notice that the first example has one more comma.
Is it proper to hyphenate percentages if they’re modifiers? Example - a 20 percent increase. I’m trying to determine this by Associated Press standards.
Are common pet-names capitalized as per proper names i.e. when writing to a loved one, which of the two is the better option? -Hello darling- or -Hello Darling-
When do you capitalize directions? ie) Uncle Henry flew south for the winter.
1. The much talked about question; or The much-talked-about question. If hyphenation is not required, would hyphenation make it wrong, and vice-versa.
Though I’d definitely hyphenate the following: “The much-talked-about-but-never-dealt-with question”. No?
2. I like groceries shopping; or I like groceries-shopping. Same for things like coat(-)checking, floor(-)scrubbing, etc.
How about: The groceries-shopping tedium; coat-checking etiquette; etc. Would it be okay if you don’t hyphenate them?
3. Behaviour is context dependent; or Behaviour is context-dependent. The page is content heavy; or The page is content-heavy.
Likewise, if hyphenation is required, would the lack of hyphenation make it wrong, and vice-versa.
4. The end of school vacation; or The end-of-school vacation. A not so surprising accident; or A not-so-surprising accident.
Again, the same question applies. Especially for the first case, since not hyphenating it would possibly change its meaning: The end of *the* school vacation vs. The vacation that happens at the end of school. Thus, can anyone, without hyphenating it, argue that they mean the latter?
I’m curious about the correct way to punctuate something like the following: David found a note that only had a few words written on it. “I’m too tired to walk.”
Is there a correct way to do this without quotation marks. I’ve seen hyphens used in some instances but that seems incorrect.