Business Skills

Writing

Punctuation Endnotes

by Linda Eve Diamond, the author of Executive Writing

Linda Eve Diamond

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  • Hyphen Joins two words that are used as an adjective when they precede a noun; connects two or more words that form a noun.

  • Comma Follows introductory phrases and dependent clauses; sets off words or phrases that interrupt the flow of a sentence and can be omitted without changing the meaning; separates three or more items in a series; separates two adjectives that modify the same noun; separate a phrase that interrupts the flow of the sentence.

  • Apostrophe Shows possession, even in possessive-styled adjectives (this year's summer; the team's job; the budget's total); replaces the omitted letters in a contraction.

  • NO Apostrophe Don't use an apostrophe in possessive pronouns. and don't confuse possessive pronouns with contradictions.

  • Colon Introduces a list; announces a key point.

  • Semicolon Connects two complete, related thoughts that could be separate sentences.

  • Italics Show emphasis.

  • Dash Separates strongly a phrase from the rest of the sentence.

  • Parentheses Used to insert supporting or explanatory information into the middle of a sentence or paragraph. Place the parenthetical phrase as close as possible to the word it describes.

  • Quotation marks Identify jargon or unfamiliar terms as well as words directly quoted from some other source. Notice the placement of the comma. Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks.

  • Exclamation mark Used at the end of a sentence that shows excitement or strong emphasis. Exclamation marks are almost always inappropriate in business writing. Use sparingly and only in informal or promotional writing.

 

 

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