Articles about punctuation

Exclamation Points Don’t Have to be Useless!

by Benjamin More Dec 07, 2017

Exclamation Points Don’t Have to be Useless!

Cursed exclamation points! What purpose do they serve in modern literature? They’re still taught as basic punctuation, but their existence is frowned upon. Last I heard, no more than two should be used in an entire novel. Two? That’s it? Even for thrillers and horror?! This topic outrages me to the point of using them after every sentence, even the questions.

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7 Grammar Rules Your Editor Wants You to Know

by ProWritingAid Sep 18, 2017

7 Grammar Rules Your Editor Wants You to Know

You don't want to send an overworked and underpaid editor a manuscript with glaring grammar and punctuation errors. Especially if the editor decides whether your piece runs or not. Send in a poorly edited piece, and you will end up in the slush pile. No editor has time for drastic rewrites.

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Gender Neutral Pronoun Consistency—Is This Still a Thing?

by ProWritingAid Apr 10, 2017

Gender Neutral Pronoun Consistency—Is This Still a Thing? How many times have you written a sentence using a gender-neutral antecedent (the word a pronoun replaces) and stumbled? Which pronoun do you use—he or she?The student may borrow whichever book he (or she?) needs. The Traditional Solution

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Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

by ProWritingAid Feb 20, 2017

Hyphenation: When Nouns Become Adjectives

Compound adjectives are made up of a combination of noun plus adjective, noun plus participle, or adjective plus participle. More often than not, these are hyphenated. Let’s look at a few.

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Should Dialogue Stand Alone?

by ProWritingAid Dec 27, 2016

Should Dialogue Stand Alone?

How you format dialogue is a matter of style rather than a rule. There are a few guidelines, however, that make dialogue easier for your reader to follow. And we want our work to be easy to read.

Some novelists like Cormac McCarthy do their own thing with dialogue. For example, McCarthy doesn’t use quotation marks, which is his style of choice. Most of us need to follow our publishing house’s rules, or at least accepted standards. Here are 3 unequivocal standards for starting new paragraphs in dialogue.

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Writing for a British Audience

by Heather Baker Nov 16, 2016

Writing for a British Audience

As someone who lives and runs a business in the UK and has travelled extensively in the US, I can tell you from first-hand experience that there’s a world of difference between the way Americans and Britons do things.

And I’m not just talking about the fact that we drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road (though, you know, obviously remember that if you decide to visit).

There’s the whole ‘s’ versus ‘z’ argument, the fact that we prefer spelling colour with a ‘u’ and grey with an ‘e’. And of course, let’s not forget about our penchant for the imperial system.

Grammar and measurements aside though, when it comes to marketing across the pond the differences are both vast and nuanced. We’re all speaking English, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same language.

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How to Punctuate and Format Inner Dialogue

by ProWritingAid Oct 07, 2016

How to Punctuate and Format Inner Dialogue

Inner dialogue is an excellent way to give your readers a peek inside the heart and mind of your characters. Readers can’t get this depth of character strictly from the actions you include in your story. You should give them inner thoughts to create 3-D characters with which your readers will fall in love.

The bad news is that there is no hard and fast rule about formatting inner dialogue. Depending on which author, editor, or publisher you talk to, there are as many ways to handle inner dialogue as there are people writing it.

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Hyphen, En Dash & Em Dash: Do You Know the Difference?

by ProWritingAid Sep 28, 2016

Hyphen, En Dash & Em Dash: Do You Know the Difference?

Are you aware of these three little lines and how they’re used in punctuation?

-Hyphen

⎻En Dash

—Em Dash

Let’s talk a little more about each.

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When Do I Need to Hyphenate?

by ProWritingAid Jul 06, 2016

When Do I Need to Hyphenate?

Depending on who you subscribe to, you may hear some very different ideas concerning when and how to hyphenate. We’re here to set the record straight:

When in doubt, look it up.

Yep. This is the one form of punctuation that you’re best off looking up if you’re unsure. And another complication is that various style manuals conform to different rules. Add to that the state of fluctuation around certain words that can either be hyphenated, two separate words, or written together as one. Click through for some practical examples.

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Where Does Punctuation Go in Dialogue?

by ProWritingAid Jun 08, 2016

Where Does Punctuation Go in Dialogue?

Dialogue is a fantastic way to bring your readers into the midst of the action. They can picture the main character talking to someone in their mind’s eye, and it gives them a glimpse into how your character interacts with others.

That said, dialogue is hard to punctuate, especially since there are different rules for different punctuation marks—because nothing in English grammar is ever easy, right? We’re going to try to make this as easy as possible.

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Why We Love the Oxford Comma

by ProWritingAid May 09, 2016

Why We Love the Oxford Comma

What is the Oxford comma? And why is there so much debate around whether it should be used? ProWritingAid advocates a nuanced approach to the Oxford comma depending on the clarity of the sentence.

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