1. njwh
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    njwh New Member

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    Help with the following punctuation.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by njwh, Apr 4, 2013.

    When do I use - Hyphens?
    What's the difference between a long – hyphen, and a short - hyphen?

    When do I use italics?

    In speech 'Is it okay?' to do this.
    That is, use lowercase after a full stop, exclamation mark or question mark.

    Do I indent the first sentence in a chapter?​

    In what circumstance is it correct to put a comma in front of a name, Stranger?

    When do I use a semi-colon; in place of a comma?

    Thank you! Please use examples in your answers.
    If I think of more of these that bother me I'll post below.

    N.B. I didn't use the punctuation above in circumstances in which I thought they belonged. I placed them in each sentence merely to accentuate what I was asking about.
     
  2. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    As for the semi-colon, don't use it the way you did. Use it to link independent clauses (each clause has a subject and verb) that are closely related or contrasting; you can never use a comma in the same place.

    For instance:

    Mithrandir posted some advice; it wasn't very good.

    Mithrandir posted some advice, but it wasn't very good.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Another use for the semicolon is to separate elements in a list when those elements contain commas. Like this:

    Some of the world's capital cities are Paris, France; Moscow, Russia; Beijing, China; and Madrid, Spain.

    You can use italics when naming a book or a vessel:

    A copy of Great Expectations went down with the Titanic.
     
  4. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    .
    You can use a hyphen to join two words so that they read as one e.g. to form an adjective:

    a salt-encrusted coin;
    gazing through rime-streaked windows;
    a disgusting fly-speckled light bulb.

    Yes. 'Get out of here!' ordered the Chief. Or, 'Did she really say that?' queried the prosecutor.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...you can get detailed info and examples if you have a good punctuation guide [which all writers should have] or just go to a good punctuation site...

    ...hyphens are used only for hyphenated words, or doubled in mss, to indicate an em dash should be there when it's printed...

    ...if it's long, then it's not a hyphen... there are em dashes and en dashes... the 'en' is shorter than the 'em'...

    ...again, consult a guide for full list of uses... in a fiction ms, should be only for foreign words or when a word really needs to be emphasized... and in the ms, it's best to underline the words instead of using the actual italics, since it's easier see...

    ...if you're referring to a dialog tag following the dialog, that's not just okay, it's mandatory...

    ...yes, every single paragraph must be indented, even the first one of each chapter... what you see in books is not what's expected in your ms...

    ...when it's preceded by what the person is, such as in: '...my brother, Roy, was a cop'... but it's a stylistic choice... doesn't have to be there, if you choose to keep your commas down to a minimum...

    ...check a guide for non-fiction uses... for fiction, it's best not to, since in all cases, a comma, period, em dash, or conjunction will do a better job and good writers don't have to resort to fancy fontery to let readers know when someone is thinking...
     
  6. njwh
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    njwh New Member

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    mammamaia, you have been a great help.
    I've gone on and read several websites and blogs detailing punctuation and what not and I understand all of what you're saying pretty well.
    Thank you vivaciously!
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're welcome, enchantingly! ;)
     

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