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
From Jim Van:
“If the Recovery (read it Money) is in the millions [of dollars], even 4 decimal places would make a SIGNIFICANT figures.”
Question: What difference in use between parenthesis and square brackets?
On page 89 of “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”, Lynne Truss writes, “I wonder why?” Many people put a question mark at the end of this phrase, but to me it doesn’t seem like a question. Isn’t it a statement? “I wonder” is a statement. “Why” is a question in and of itself. In this context, though, the question mark is not making sense to me.
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?
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?
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”?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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 :)