Punctuation Notes

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


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