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Language Review: Punctuation II

In this lecture you will learn:



•Question Marks

•Exclamation Marks


•Quotation marks






Use colons for the following purposes:

••to introduce and emphasize lists, quotations and explanations and certain appositional

elements (see Layout)

•to express ratios

••to separate numbers signifying different nouns, such as in separating units of time or

elements in a bibliographic citation•to separate titles from subtitles

To set off and emphasize lists–The market for photovoltaic power systems includes the

following items: intrusion alarms, flood monitors, calculators, and telephone call boxes.


•The market for photovoltaic power systems includes the following items:

–intrusion alarms

–flood monitors


–telephone call boxes


Use semicolons to join two independent clauses or to separate parts of a sentence

that have commas in them.

To Join Two Independent Clauses

The system has three beam launchers; two are in the two-tube combiner, and one is

in the OP receiver.

To Separate Sentence Elements with Commas

–Italicize titles of journals, books, newsletters, and manuals; letters, words, terms, and

equation symbols; foreign words; and names of specific vessels.

Question Marks:

•Use a question mark to end an interrogative sentence.

•Have past efforts to develop an AIDS vaccine been based on the wrong approach?

•Use a question mark to change a declarative or imperative sentence into a question.

•Their testing of the system was exhaustive? [declarative changed to interrogative] Start

production on Friday? [imperative changed to interrogative]

•When a directive or a command is phrased as a question, a question mark is optional.

Exclamation Points:

•In technical and scientific writing, use exclamation points only to end warning or caution

statements or as specialized scientific notation.

•For other purposes, use a period or question mark.


•Use apostrophes to form the possessive case of nouns and indefinite pronouns, and


•Optionally, apostrophes may also be used in the plurals of abbreviations and numbers.

•Form the possessive of singular nouns and indefinite pronouns and of plural nouns that do

not end in -s by adding-'s.

Quotation Marks:

•Unless the documentation style you are following specifies otherwise, use quotation marks

1.to enclose the names of articles, short reports, and other brief documents cited in your

document or

2.to indicate direct quotations of speech or excerpts from other documents.

•Do not put quotation marks around a quotation in block form (that is, indented to set it off

from the main text).

•Avoid using quotation marks for emphasis.

••To Enclose the Names of Articles, Short Reports, and Other Brief Documents

–The source of the design information is the 1982 article" Boundary Layer Development on

Turbine Airfoil Suction Surfaces," which appeared in the Journal of Engineering for Power.


•Use hyphens to link

–certain prefixes, suffixes, letters, and numbers with nouns

–compound nouns

–compound modifiers

–spelled-out numbers

•Also use hyphens for the following purposes:

–to clarify the meaning of certain words

–to divide words

–to express to or through between two letters or numbers

–for specialized scientific notation

To Link Certain Prefixes, Suffixes, Letters, and Numbers with Nouns

–Use hyphens to connect certain prefixes to nouns. In most scientific and technical styles,

the following prefixes are usually followed by a hyphen:







•To Link Compound Nouns

To Link Compound Modifiers

To Link Spelled-Out Numbers

Specialized Uses

–Use a hyphen in the following circumstances:

–To represent single bonds in chemical formulas:


–Between the spelled-out name of a chemical element and the mass number of the specific



–Between sequences of amino acids:



•Use dashes--sparingly--to indicate abrupt shifts in thought and to set off or emphasize

appositional or parenthetical elements or interjections. In most cases, use commas or

parentheses instead.

•Although we have made these comments with specific reference to water--only because of

our familiarity with water--all pure substances exhibit the same behavior.

•In typewritten documents, use two hyphens (--) with no spaces between or around them to

form a dash.


•Use parentheses to enclose qualifying detail that is of secondary importance to the main


•Use parentheses sparingly within sentences; commas often do the job better.

•Parentheses can also be used to enclose one or more entire sentences that add relevant

but not essential detail to the main discussion.


•Use brackets to set off an explanatory reference, your own comments, or corrections within

material you are quoting.

–According to Smith, "Proton energy levels [in the accelerator] are consistently higher than


–[These comments were made before Brodier became aware of Lightman's experiments.]

•Unless the documentation style you are following specifies otherwise, use the Latin term sic

in brackets to indicate that material in a quotation is incorrect.

–Freedman stated, "Various Indo-European languages such as Rumanian, Hindi, Hungarian

[sic], and Serbian exhibit similar morphological patterns." [Hungarian is not an Indo-

European language.]

•Use brackets to enclose parenthetical material that is within material already in


–The first extant cosmological theories were developed by the early Babylonians and

Greeks. (See Alan Lightman, Ancient Light [Cambridge: Harvard University Press], pp.5-9.)

•Use brackets to indicate the isotope of a specific chemical.


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