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Coffee Shoppe: Punctuation 101


Harakiri

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Introduction

 

The Coffee Shoppe appears to have been looked at again by our newer members, and our older members, and I feel this is an oppurtune time to place my own guide to writing. JP7725 has made a guide on poetry, that I find beautifully made, and I feel is a new start for the idea that was the Coffee Shoppe. Over the next couple weeks, you probably will see me doing less stories, and working more on the idea that is the Coffee Shoppe. I am planning on starting the second volume of the Authors Corner bi-weekly newspaper, and I am also going to work more with Archimage and others to push for a new sub forum.

 

Thus, this is the guide to punctuation, something everyone can find difficult. Not just commas, or periods, but apostrophies and hyphens, as well as other various marks we find in our stories. I even find them difficult, but I will hopefully be able to provide a helpful guide! My first one too, by the way, so as the first rule of the Coffee Shoppe states:

 

1. Never write a reply without telling the main poster what you liked or found bad about his/her story or post. Give criticisms that will help make the original post clearer, or much easier to understand.

 

Sure, we have not created a full rule set yet, but that would be my number one.

 

 

 

Punctuation 101

 

Punctuation should always be used when writing a story. Without the occasional period or quotation mark when someone is speaking, the story will be difficult to understand, and can ultimately fail below anyones expectations. If you cannot properly use punctuation, or at least do it half way decent, most stories you write will be a conjoined mess of words. Without say a comma, most people will not know when to stop for a second and then continue on. If that sentence I just wrote before had no comma in it, you would continue talking the sentence and it would not make much sense.

 

 

 

The Period

 

The period is also called a full stop. It is used at the end of a sentence with a statement.

 

This month is April.

 

I watched television last night.

 

The most common problem with a period is that sometimes, people place commas instead of a period.

 

America sucks, Europe is great.

 

Do you see the problem? Change the comma to a period, and it would make sense. Some people may consider it unproffesional to have two short sentences, so after the comma, you may place the word "and". That is the only way to join those two sentences properly.

 

 

 

The Question Mark

 

This one is simple. Use it at the end of a question.

 

Who are you?

 

Why do you smell like cheese?

 

Used in a quotation:

 

"How many of you like to eat cheese?" She asked.

 

It is not used if a sentence is restating the question:

 

She asked me if I liked cheese.

 

It can also be used if you do not know something, like a specific date.

 

Habedash (1455-?1501?)

 

 

 

The Exclamation Mark

 

Used after a sentence with great feeling or expression:

 

Holy crap!

 

Wow!

 

Use it if a statement is surprising.

 

I opened the jar. It was empty!

 

Remember to always use one. This is not a comic book, and one can suffice.

 

I also find that an exclamation and question mark put together is alright to do in a question like:

 

What the heck?!

 

It may not be correct, but I do occasionaly run across a novel with these two marks put together.

 

 

 

REMEMBER: Never put a space between a word and a punctuation mark.

 

What ?

 

Don't do that!

 

 

 

Fragments

 

Fragments are short sentences that usually consist of one or two words. They should be used sparingly in your writing, but can add another dimension to a character.

 

"Are we going to drink beer at the party? Of course!"

 

Most fragments are going to use an exclamation mark at the end of it.

 

 

 

The Listing Comma

 

Simply enough, it goes in place of "and". It basically lists things:

 

My favorite Greek gods are Ares,Posiedon and Zeus.

 

As you can see, the last thing in the list does not get a comma before it, but rather "and" is put to signify the end of the list.

 

It can also be used to help describe something:

 

This is a dark, deathly place.

 

 

 

The Joining Comma

 

This comma is simply used to join two sentences together.

 

I hated the movie, and hated the actors.

 

 

 

The Gapping Comma

 

Another simple one, this is used to put an extra word(s) into a sentence to make it clearer, and so we do not have to repeat ourselves.

 

Some people hate America; others, like myself, don't.

 

 

 

Bracketing Commas

 

These are used to place a slight interruption in the sentence.

 

These people, we think, were nomadic.

 

 

 

The Colon

 

The colon is used to elaborate on something that precedes it.

 

I have a new post for the Varrock Library: Town Idiot.

 

It is also used to seperate a title and a subtitle.

 

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

 

It also is used to seperate hours and minutes in time.

 

12:30

 

Also, it can be placed to show a specific bible passage.

 

Genesis 1:1

 

It is also used in ratios.

 

The men in my class outnumbered the woman 3:1

 

 

 

The semicolon

 

Easily enough, it is used to join two sentences that are closely related. It can be used in place of a ", and".

 

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

 

That is a quote from [bleep]ens. He could easily have put, instead of a semicolon, a ", and".

 

A semicolon must have a complete sentence on both sides of it.

 

 

 

The Apostrophe

 

The apostrophe is simply used when writing a contraction:

 

Can't

 

Won't

 

Most older words have apostrophes in them.

 

Will O' the wisp

 

Twelve O' clock

 

Some older contractions not used in todays speach have apostrophes:

 

'tis

 

'twas

 

Also, a lot of people in the modern world shorten words to make them easier to say, such as:

 

'Fraid

 

'S cool

 

Some contractions don't use an apostrophe like:

 

Copter

 

Deli

 

These are also used to show postion.

 

Susie's car is red.

 

Jack's toys are everywhere.

 

Plural nouns do not have an apostrophe S, but rather just an apostrophe.

 

The girls' car.

 

The boys' toys.

 

A name ending in s takes only an apostrophe if the possessive form is not pronounced with an extra s.

 

Ulysses' Uniform

 

 

 

The Hyphen

 

This is used to break a sentence off.

 

"What the he-"

 

"Shut up!" Yelled John, cutting off Jack.

 

It is also used to combine two words.

 

Light-green

 

These words can also be spaced out, which can confuse people. It can also combine multiple words:

 

Anti-Man-Killing-Campaign

 

 

 

The Dash

 

A dash is used when there is a strong interruption.

 

The man wanted peace--or so he said.

 

My computer does not have a dash, so I have to use two hyphens.

 

 

 

Capital Letters

 

Everyone should now how to use a capital letter. At the beginning of a sentence we use one, or if we are stating a proper noun.

 

I won't do any examples because this should be something everyone understands.

 

 

 

Abbreviations

 

Simply enough, used to abreviate a word.

 

TV

 

VCR

 

CIA

 

 

 

Quotation Marks

 

I won't give a lot of examples, because these are basic. You use them to bracket dialogue, and you use them when placing words from a quote in a sentence. You may also use them to bracket the name of a title, though it is widely accepted, and taught by most teachers, to use italics.

 

 

 

Other stuff

 

 

 

Italics-Used to show the name of a title, sometimes shown to use emphasis on a word or phrase.

 

Bold-Usually bold is used for a chapter or title of your own story, never used inside of the actual story, unless a character in it is reading a book. Then bold would be alright, or even italics.

 

SMALL CAPITALS- Are used to express great meaning, or in abbreviations.

 

(Parenthesis)- Used to bracket in additional information, or sometimes even a characters thoughts on a subject.

 

[square Brackets]- These are usually used to show a reference.

 

...Elipsis...-Can be used if a character is trailing off a sentence or subject, or interrupted.

 

/Slash/-Usually used to cite two different sides of a coin. Him/her, and/or.

 

Numbers: Usually you want to write out a smaller number, but if it is large, you can use actual numbers.

 

Accents: Only used if you are speaking another language or using a word from another language.

 

*Footnote*-Usually used if you want someone to go to the bottom of the page to find a reference or specific date, or add information that a character does not know much about.

 

 

 

There are other signs such as @ # and $, but you do not see them used in literature as much as the ones put above.

 

I hope this has been an informational look at puncutation, any suggestions, comments, or anything else goes below.

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I'm a grammar nazi... So I'm nitpicking. Sorry but there were some things that stood out. Plus this is a punctuation guide, and it should have good grammar as well.

 

 

 

The most common problem with a period is that sometimes, people place commas instead of a period.

 

America sucks, Europe is great.

 

 

Not the best example because it is a sentence. I would use something like "Bob is my best friend, His cat is yellow." that's more obvious.

 

 

 

Used in a quotation:

 

"How many of you like to eat cheese?" She asked.

 

 

'She' at the end shouldn't be capitalized.

 

 

 

It may not be correct, but I do occasionaly run

 

 

Occasionally has two l's... I know I don't spell perfectly but this one is kind of obvious.

 

 

 

Most fragments are going to use an exclamation mark at the end of it.

 

I would take off the 'of it' at the end, it adds unneeded stuff to the end.

 

 

 

My favorite Greek gods are Ares,Posiedon and Zeus.

 

You need a space after the comma after Ares, and you may or may not add a comma after Posiedon. (generally a matter of preference unless your grammar teacher says otherwise) "My favorite Greek gods are Ares, Posiedon, and Zeus."

 

 

 

In the possesion bit on apostrophes, it could be helpful to add a noun that changes when it's plural (men, women, children) because you do add 's to them.

 

 

 

"Shut up!" Yelled John, cutting off Jack.

 

 

yelled doesn't need to be capitalized.

 

 

 

On quotations, it's also acceptable to underline the title of the book if you're writing something and can't use italics.

 

 

 

On numbers, if it's bigger than twenty-one you can use the numerals. Otherwise you usually write it out. Also numbers between 21-99 are hyphenated and then you hyphenate them if you are spelling them out. (one hundred fifty-six)

 

 

 

Accents can be used throughout a book when a certain character has a certain speaking mannerism as well.

 

 

 

And you may want to take into account differences in British and American grammar/spelling. I know in British literature (or older literature generally) lots of things have hyphens that nowadays don't.

 

 

 

All in all a very good guide though. :thumbsup:

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You can't begin a sentence with a numeral; it must be written out.

 

 

 

I would just write out all numbers, you'll never be wrong. Besides, "There were 2 of them!" looks stupid. So does "There were 21 of them!"

 

 

 

Obvious exceptions are dates and descriptive numbers, i.e. "Room 4."

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The most common problem with a period is that sometimes, people place commas instead of a period.

 

America sucks, Europe is great.

 

Do you see the problem? Change the comma to a period, and it would make sense. Some people may consider it unproffesional to have two short sentences, so after the comma, you may place the word "and". That is the only way to join those two sentences properly.

 

 

 

A better option, in my opinion, would be to use a semicolon.

Ah, this reminds me about the noob on the Runescape forums who was upset with the quest "Cold War" because apparently his grandparents died in the war. :wall:
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Obvious exceptions are dates and descriptive numbers, i.e. "Room 4."

 

 

 

Well I would still say that room numbers should be written out in full...as should dates really. The only exception to that would be if you were doing some sort of timeline and were writing:

 

3200: Mount Hippo looks like it is glowing

 

3423: The history building was excavated

 

 

 

Or if you are directly quoting. 'The team looked at the strange symbols on the door 'Room 4' what could it possibly mean?'

 

If it is just in regular speech though it should be the full term or you get something like this:

 

'Hey bud, it is the 2nd of the 8th and I am gonna head on down to room 101 and talk to the guys; I'll catch you on the flipside, Pker332 out.'

 

Which reminds me, if the number is in the name then it can be used as a digit not a word, so Pker332 would be acceptable.

 

 

 

A better option, in my opinion, would be to use a semicolon.

 

Or a better conjunctive, like but:

 

America sucks but Europe is great.

 

But then you are getting on to a whole different kettle of fish because the sentance sounds better as:

 

Although some people think America sucks, those people also tend to think Europe is great; so we don't need to listen to them.

Well I knew you wouldn't agree. I know how you hate facing facts.

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