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Punctuation Pointers

Let's answer the question: "do you put a comma before "because?"  The short answer is when because connects two clauses in a sentence, you don’t need a comma. Because is a subordinating conjunction. It connects a subordinate clause with an independent clause. There should not be a comma between these two clauses. The...
Sometimes too is used with a comma, and sometimes it is not. Both can be correct. Using a comma actually depends on the intention of the writer. The comma adds an emphasis. A comma should also be used before too if there is an abrupt shift in thought. When too is used in the middle...
Do you know when to hyphenate the words “year old”? If you are using “year old” as an adjective, then you need to put a hyphen between the words. For example, you would write “the two-year-old child.” “Two-year-old” is an adjective that describes the child.  Hyphenating Year Old You put a...
When you use a hyphen to connect two words and use those words as an adjective, it is called a compound modifier.  For example: Incorrect: The sweet smelling cake made my stomach growl. This sentence is rather confusing. Is the sweet actually smelling the cake? There needs to be a hyphen should...
Quotation marks show that those words are being spoken. They are used a lot in dialogue in fiction writing. Dialogue is words spoken by characters. Quotation marks are always in pairs, with the first set opening the quote and the second set closing the quote. Journalists also use quotation marks...
Introductory Phrase An introductory phrase is a short clause that starts a sentence. It doesn’t have its own subject and verb. Instead, it uses the main clause’s subject and verb. Introductory phrases help to set the stage for the main part of the sentence. They let the reader know that the central...
Is it others, others' or others'? These are three words are obviously all versions of the word other and are often confused. Let's shed a little light, shall we? The possessive singular form of the word other is other’s. The plural form of the word other is others. The possessive...
Do you need a comma with the phrase such as? The answer is... sometimes. Place a comma in front of such as only if you’re using it as part of a nonrestrictive clause. Proper Use of a Comma Before Such As The sentence below shows how to correctly use a comma with such...
You should not use a comma in front of while when you mean “during the same time.” You should use a comma in front of while when you mean “whereas” or “although.” When the word while is used as a conjunction, it has two meanings. One meaning is related to time. In the material...
Are you unsure of how to show the plural or possessive of certain names? Maybe you already know to write I met the Wilsons, drove Brenda Wilson’s Ferrari, and visited the Wilsons’ house. But what if the name is Cortez or Beach or Michaels? Rule: If you want to show the plural of a name that ends with a...