- On November 7, 2018
When to Dash: The Difference Between Commas, Parentheses, and Dashes in Punctuating Parenthetical—i.e., Extra—Information
- On October 30, 2018
I’ve written many bulletins about dashes—America’s favorite punctuation mark—but today’s edition focuses on the overlap between a pair of dashes (like the ones I just used), commas, and parentheses. All three punctuation marks can be used to give readers extra information.
Let’s take that opening sentence. I could replace the... (Read More)
- On October 17, 2018
“Communication doesn’t take place because you tell somebody something. It takes place when you observe them closely and track their ability to follow you.”
Alan Alda wrote that in his charming book If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science... (Read More)
- On October 3, 2018
“Why do you want to quit smoking?” the interviewer asked two groups of people.
“I want to breathe more easily in the morning …”
“I don’t want other people knowing I smoke…”
These two answers appeared in a research report I recently edited, but I wasn’t sure why the author... (Read More)
- On September 18, 2018
“They thought it was best to keep a lower profile and hone in on their specific policy areas.” That’s what Sarah Huckabee Sanders had to say this summer about Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s temporary retreat from the public eye.
A few days later, Ruth Bader Ginsberg reminisced about her... (Read More)
- On July 17, 2018
“You Can End a Sentence With a Preposition” will be sent to 500 subscribers from the list, “Professional Contacts for Weltchek Weekly”.
That’s the notice I recently received from MailChimp, the service that distributes this bulletin—but it’s incorrectly punctuated.
In American style, periods (and commas) always go inside the... (Read More)
- On June 26, 2018
I recently received a flurry of emails that share the same mistake: They all include statements incorrectly punctuated as questions. As a result, the authors sound uncertain, which I know was not their intent.
Here are the words—each with a hint of possibility—that seemed to trip them up.
- ... (Read More)
- On June 19, 2018
“You have to use condoms and know with whom you go to bed.”
That’s what Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the now 90-year-old sex therapist, said in a recent interview with a New York Times reporter as she recalled some of the groundbreaking advice she gave in the early 80s.
She’s a... (Read More)
- On June 5, 2018
Howard Schultz’s recent letter to customers about Starbucks’s racial bias training was well written and took responsibility for the incident that led to the arrest of two men in one of the company’s stores. I couldn’t help but compare it to the letter Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United... (Read More)
- On May 22, 2018
I’m pretty sure when I need a comma; I’m not so sure about a semicolon. That’s what Keith Hernandez told The New York Times about his struggles with punctuation.
The baseball star turned memoirist and social media maven is not alone. In my workshops, I often spend a lot of... (Read More)