Home Punctuation Pointers

Punctuation Pointers

Hyphens are among the most challenging punctuation marks. In two phrases that seem very much alike, one will have a hyphen and one will not.  Consider an example. Would you add hyphens to the following sentence? Syntax Training is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Seattle with a 30 percent discount on...
Today I read "Ask Amy" in The Seattle Times. Amy was giving advice to someone who could not set boundaries for herself. I liked Amy's advice, but her punctuation--or lack of it--grabbed my attention.  Which punctuation mark would you add to the sentence below? After you decide, scroll down to read my...
Warm up by finding one concisely spelled error in this sign. When you find it, go on to the next challenge.   This dumpster sign has three punctuation errors, along with some funny commentary. Don't quit until you find everything.  Thank you to Eric W., who finds wonderfully flawed signs in...
Below is a screenshot of the first half of an email invitation I received for a bill-signing event in Seattle. I understood the content and appreciated the invitation, but I couldn't help spotting all the errors. How many do you recognize? Feel free to edit the message and post your...
I saw this great card designed by Jessica Hogarth at my local supermarket. It's a thank-you card for a teacher. Does it contain an error? If so, where? If not, why not? Do you worry about whether errors are getting by you? Or that you are correcting non-errors? Check out these...
Let's imagine that this sign needs perfect punctuation, or dog owners will ignore it. How would you punctuate it? I would add four punctuation marks. What would you do? Please share your version in the comments section. I'll share mine tomorrow.  Do your punctuation skills need a boost? Use this...
In an earlier post, I promised to review Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style "in a few days." That was more than three weeks ago. I've been savoring the book, making notes on every chapter. I am now ready to tell you that--as a reader...
My friend Eric W., a great sign spotter, sent me this photo for your enjoyment. He asks, "What does it hum?"  I ask you, "What is the problem with the heading below?"    It's an easy problem for a snowy Monday in Seattle--and an opportunity to remind you of my Punctuation for...
I received an invitation to a professional meeting focused on hiring "formerly-incarcerated talent (FIT)." FIT--that's a catchy acronym.   But what caught my attention more was the unnecessary use of the hyphen. Did you notice it? These are formerly incarcerated (not hyphenated) individuals.  Here's the rule: Do not use a hyphen with...
Are you feeling smart and alert today? Test yourself in the three short passages below. Each "Error Quest" has just one error. Find and correct it.    Error Quest 1: Since you asked, this is RoAnn's and my suggestion: We believe that we should use the word programs rather than tracks. Programs fits better with our offerings...