These are the notes for my “Great Punctuation Lecture”
In order to correctly punctuate a complex sentence, you must know the difference between independent and dependent clauses
Independent Clause: a clause that can stand on its own as a sentence.
Dependent Clause: a clause that cannot stand on it’s own in a sentence.
Now try using this cheat sheet for commas (that I invented!)
|Independent () Dependent||
Independent () Independent
Dependent () Independent
No Punctuation Required!!
Independent = I saw Mary.
I was on my way to the store.
Dependent = On my way to the store
You can also use a semicolon between items in a list of things normally set off with commas:
I went to Eureka, California; Parump, Nevada; and Portland, Oregon.
Punctuation comes BEFORE quotation mark.
Each quotation between people talking is a new paragraph so that you can keep them straight. A quote within a quote is a single quote.
“I heard her say, ‘no.’”
“I heard her just say “’na,’” he said, “which is not TECHNICALLY ‘no.’”
“She doesn’t want Ice Cream,” I said.
The Apostrophe ‘
Shows possession, or that there is something missing!!
When showing possession, think of the apostrophe as an arrow that points at what owns the thing. For example:
Joe’s car = Joe owns the car.
Douglas’ car = Douglas owns the car (American English doesn’t put an extra “s” after the apostrophe.)
Mom’s club = If it is “Mom’s club” it is a club for my mom.
Moms’ club = If it is a “Moms’ club” it is a club for moms.
Class of ‘08 = The “20” is missing, and is indicated through the use of an apostrophe.
Three o’clock = The words, “of the clock” are missing.
A colon is a COMMA WITH DRAMA!!
Just like a comma, you must have an independent and a dependent clause.
To whom it may concern: You may have already won!
I went to the store and purchased the following items: pumpkin, peaches, and pumpernickel bread.
When trying to tell the difference between “they’re,” “their,” and “there,” remember the following sentences:
I’m here in my here.
They’re there in their there.
The sentences are parallel.
I’m (I am) = they’re (they are)
here (a place) = there (a place), and
my (belongs to me) = their (belongs to them).
Also remember that “there” and “their,” have meaning within!
There — a place
Their –belongs to them